Games selection 'big relief'

Last updated 07:34 10/07/2012
Jonathan Paget
PETER MEECHAM/FAIRFAX MEDIA
MAKING THE JUMP: Jonathan Paget may represent New Zealand at the London Olympics this year.

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A phone call saying he was going to the Olympics in London was "a big relief" for equestrian eventer Jonathan Paget, 28, of Muriwai Beach.

He earns his new cap aboard Clifton Promise, a New Zealand-bred 13-year-old bay thoroughbred owned by Frances Stead.

Paget and Clifton Promise were an impressive seventh at the 2010 World Champs.

"Excited and honoured" to be named, Paget says he believed he'd done enough.

"But nothing compares to getting that phone call from Erik [Equestrian Sports New Zealand eventing high performance coach Erik Duvander] to tell you officially," he says. "It's a big relief. I plan to make the most of the opportunity of riding alongside Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson and Caroline Powell, and under the coaching of Erik. He has done an amazing job preparing such a strong team for London.

"He is a very brave coach and pushes us all in a good way."

In this month's Barbury Castle International Horse Trials in Wiltshire, Paget and horse Clifton Lush were in second spot going into the final phase. But they parted company during the cross-country, eliminating them from the event.

Paget was in good company though. Mark Todd, 56, who was in third, was also eliminated after he and NZB Campino missed a fence in the final stages of the cross-country course.

Todd and Nicholson, 50, among the five-strong equestrian eventing team competing at the Olympics, will represent New Zealand at their seventh Olympic Games.

Jonelle Richards completes a strong-looking New Zealand team with Lucy Jackson named as the reserve.

"Equestrian eventing is an iconic New Zealand sport and one which has secured us 10 per cent of our nation's Olympic medals," New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary general and selector Kereyn Smith says.

"We look forward to the team also contributing to winning New Zealand's 100th Olympic medal at London 2012 and we wish the athletes well."

New Zealand will also be represented in the Olympic dressage competition by Louisa Hill and Bates Antonello. Another dressage rider and horse combination may be added.

Olympic competition starts with soccer on July 26.

Rodney athletes confirmed for London include kayakers Teneale Hatton (Orewa Surf Life Saving Club) and Erin Taylor (Red Beach Surf Life Saving Club), women's two-handed 470 sailor Jo Aleh (Muriwai Beach), swimmers Steven Kent and Hayley Palmer, Football Ferns goalkeeper Jenny Bindon and hockey players Bianca Russell, Nick Wilson, Shea McAleese, Nick Haig, Hugo Inglis and Blair Hopping.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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