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Granny saddling up to ride in Rio – Geelong Indy Newspaper

Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula will field seven athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympics, beginning tomorrow (Saturday). Three will make their Olympic debut but Drysdale grandmother and equestrian champion Mary Hanna – the Australian team’s oldest member – will compete in her fifth games.

The 61-year-old will be the equal-second Olympian to reach the five-games milestone. Hanna and horse Boogie Woogie were in fantastic spirits, she told the Indy over the phone from Rio. “It’s very exciting when you’ve got the right horses and everything falls into place,” she said. “The stables are brilliant and the transport systems here are great.” Hanna said she was already planning ahead for Tokyo 2020.

“It (Rio) isn’t the end of my goals. “(Boogie Woogie) shouldn’t get to his peak until Tokyo and then I’ve got another young one up and coming.”

Hanna will become Australia’s oldest ever Olympic equestrian, eclipsing Bill Roycroft’s record. She will be 125 days older than Roycroft was when he represented Australia at the 1976 Olympics. “I try not to think about the age so much,” she said.

“I focus on my sport and staying fit and healthy so I can do it as long as possible.” Drysdale will also watch the progress of high jumper Joel Baden, who grew up in the town. The 20-year-old will make his Olympic debut after clearing the automatic qualifying height of 2.29m in Cairns on 26 June.

By LUKE VOOGT – As published 05 August 2016


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