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Hanna named Australian Flag Bearer

On the eve of her fourth World Equestrian Games (WEG), Olympic dressage rider Mary Hanna will carry the flag for Australia at the Games’ opening ceremony. At 59 years of age, Hanna is the oldest member of Australia’s 2014 World Equestrian Games team and one of five Aussie athletes in the team making their fourth WEG appearance (along with Edwina Tops-Alexander, Stuart Tinney, Penny Toft and Boyd Exell). The four-time Olympian will lead members of the Australian team into Caen’s D’Ornano stadium late on Saturday. The ceremony is expected to attract 20,000 spectators and will mark the start of 15 days of competition involving more than 1,000 athletes from 76 nations. Much has changed since Hanna first represented Australia at a World Championships but her desire to represent her country is as strong as ever. “The first WEG I went to was in Den Hague. Because nobody expected anything of us it was quite a relaxed experience. “This is very different of course nowadays. It’s much harder to get selected as the standard is much higher. It was a great thing to be there then, nobody had any expectations and now of course we’re pushing a lot harder and we really want to get out there and do a top performance, it’s not enough to be here anymore. “I’ve been in the sport a long time so this is a great honour,” she said. When Hanna left Australian shores six months ago the only thing she knew for certain was that she would be representing Australia at the World Cup Final. “It feels pretty good to be here. I came to Europe for the World Cup Final and that was my main aim and I always said if I got to WEG that was just a bonus. It’s very nice that it’s worked out that way. “I’ve had a steady upward curve with my scores so it would be really lovely if that curve on the graph could just keep going up,” she said.




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