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Todd to lead NZ eventers in Rio

NZN 27/06/2016

Double gold medallist Sir Mark Todd will contest his eighth Olympics in Rio later this year, part of a five-strong New Zealand equestrian team named on Monday.

Todd, 60, has accumulated five Olympic medals and will become New Zealand's oldest ever Olympian at the Rio Games.

He will be joined by London 2012 bronze medal-winning eventing teammates Jonelle Price and Jock Paget, along with Clarke Johnstone,

Price's husband Tim has been named travelling reserve, while Palmerston North's Julie Brougham will make her Olympic debut in dressage.

Speaking from Europe, Todd said he was focused on delivering another strong Olympic challenge for New Zealand.

"I'm very happy with my horses at the moment and the strong team that has been named," he said.

Johnstone, forced out of contention in the lead-in to the London Games when his horse was injured, was rapt at his inclusion.

"To go to Rio and try to win a medal for New Zealand has been my number one focus for the last four years, so to be one step closer again is really, really exciting."

Brougham is just the third New Zealander to contest dressage at Olympic level, joining Kallista Field at the Sydney Games in 2000 and Louisa Hill at Athens (2004) and London (2012).

It was satisfying to have her spot confirmed, Brougham said.

"Now we can focus 100 per cent on the preparation and training for the Games."

Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance director Sarah Dalziell-Clout said competition had been tight for all the Olympic spots.

"It has been an incredibly difficult process for selectors for both dressage and eventing," she said.

"But when selection is difficult, it's a positive sign for New Zealand's equestrian sport for the future.

"There were a lot of solid performances at the highest level from our eventers over the past 18 months, with the majority of riders having successful performances on multiple horses."

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