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Jonelle bids to build on bronze
MILDENHALL eventer Jonelle Richards has set her sights on future Olympic success with horse Flintstar after picking up a team bronze medal on her Games debut.
Richards and Marlborough-based Andrew Nicholson helped New Zealand on to the podium behind Olympic champions Germany and silver medallists Great Britain at Greenwich Park.
And the 31-year-old was keen to look ahead to going one or two better in future.
She said: “Some people go to loads of different Games, but to come to your first Olympics and win a medal is incredible.
“There were some great performances from all of the New Zealand riders and being part of a team with them helped me a lot - everyone contributed.
“The whole experience was just brilliant and the course was absolutely fantastic.
“To be a part of everything and have the whole experience of the Olympic Village was amazing, and hopefully this is the first of many Games for me.
“Flintstar is a great horse and hopefully we can look towards the world championships in two years’ time. Flintstar is young, I’m young and we’ll both get smarter.”
Nicholson agonisingly missed out on a medal as he finished fourth overall on Nereo, with the dressage being the section that cost him.
The 2010 World Equestrian Games bronze medallist was initially angered at organisers after his outing was delayed by 10 minutes due to the weather, which he felt affected Nereo’s perfromance.
But the Kiwi appears to have since simmered down on that issue and told the Advertiser that the overall event was well-run.
“I would have loved an individual medal,” he said. “I was playing catch-up after the dressage, but I was pleased with the way Nereo performed.
“It was great to get a team medal and Jonelle did a good job - she looked like she thoroughly enjoyed the whole occasion.
“I thought they (the organisers) did a really good job. It was a great atmosphere and there was a real buzz, it was great to see the spectators getting behind it all.
“With all the other sports I watched on the telly, it was the same as well.”
With seven Olympics under his belt, the 51-year-old slows no signs of slowing down and now has his sights set on Rio in four years’ time.
“It’s always good to have a plan and I’ll be trying for that,” he said.