Mon, September 23, 2013

Zara Phillips to compete at Olympics

By Alan Baldwin, Reuters


Zara Phillips. REUTERS FILE

LONDON - Zara Phillips, grand-daughter of Queen Elizabeth, will follow in her parents’ footsteps in competing as an Olympic athlete after being chosen for Britain’s equestrian eventing team at the London Games.

The British Equestrian Federation said in a statement on Monday that Phillips was one of five riders formally nominated to the British Olympic Association, of which her mother Princess Anne is president.

The nominations must be reviewed and ratified by the BOA before the athletes are selected for Team GB.

Phillips, 31, will be riding High Kingdom in her first Olympics after missing out on Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008 when her horse Toytown suffered injuries before those competitions.

“It’s awesome to be given this opportunity, I’m really excited and can’t wait to kick on and get him there,” Phillips, who is married to former England rugby player Mike Tindall, was quoted as saying.

“Hopefully we will make it this time after you know what happened last (time),” added the 2006 individual world champion.

“High Kingdom is a pretty cool, very relaxed kind of guy, I was really happy with him at Bramham as he’d obviously grown up and is improving all the time. He’s pretty pony-like, a nippy little jumper and easy to manoeuvre so hopefully it will suit him well in Greenwich.”

Phillips, whose father Mark was an Olympic three-day event team gold medallist in Munich in 1972 and also won silver in Seoul in 1988, took High Kingdom to third place at the Bramham Horse Trials at the weekend.

Her mother Anne competed in the 1976 Montreal Games.

The other nominations are Kristina Cook, William Fox-Pitt, — Georgina (Piggy) French and Mary King, who will be competing in her sixth Games.

Cook, Fox-Pitt and King were all members of the British eventing squad that won team bronze in 2008 while Cook also won individual bronze.

“The team we have now nominated to the BOA is crammed full of athletes that have proven medal winning ability at European, World and Olympic level,” said equestrian team leader Will Connell.

The Queen, who has just celebrated 60 years on the throne, will formally open the Games on July 27.