An all-female team will make up Australia’s Paralympic equestrian team, with Beijing 2008 Paralympian Sharon Jarvis joining with debutants Emma Booth, Katie Umback and Lisa Martin.
The team will be looking to extended Australia’s rich history of medals - since the sport was introduced to the Paralympic Games in 1996, Aussies have taken 3 gold, 1 silver and 5 bronze.
Paralympic equestrian is open to athletes with a physical disability or vision impairment, with competition divided into 5 grades.
Jarvis, who has limited strength and movement on her left side as a result of bone cancer, has been training for eight years, just missed out on a Paralympic medal when she scored 4th in the individual championship event in Beijing.
After missing selection for London, Jarvis is raring to go.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the Australian flag fly at another Paralympic Games. It is a very exciting opportunity to be selected, and makes all the hard work over the years, well worth it,” she said.
“My main motivation has been to get to another Games so I can have another shot at the podium.
“I want to show that cancer sufferers and survivors that anyone can achieve great things.”
25-year-old Booth is currently ranked as Australia’s number one Grade III rider.
“Being a Paralympian is something that will be with me for life. Something that no one can take away from me,” she said.
“To know that we’ve earned the right to compete at the top of our sport is amazing and exciting. Three years ago, I didn’t think it would be possible, so to actually be doing it is unreal.”
Martin, 44, agrees.
“It feels unbelievable to have been selected to represent Australia at the Paralympic Games,” Martin said.
“Competing at the pinnacle event of your sport is a wonderful opportunity and an experience not many people have. I’m looking forward to competing in Rio alongside a fabulous team of riders.”
Bega-based rider Umback, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis ten years ago, said the Paralympics has been her dream since she began riding.
“A future being as able as I am is uncertain; it means a lot to me to achieve my goals before my disease catches up to me.”