By Diana Dobson
The good news just keeps rolling in for teen jumping sensation Briar Burnett-Grant with confirmation she has been chosen to represent New Zealand at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina later this year.
The 17-year-old, who won the prestigious Horse of the Year Olympic Cup on Sunday, is no stranger to representing New Zealand having won an individual gold at the Future Star Youth Competition in China in 2015 and an individual bronze in Korea. As the youngest at the Children’s FEI competition in Mexico she placed fifth out of 36, and has also been on Trans Tasman young rider teams.
She’s following in some rather big footsteps this time though – at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games Emily Fraser won gold and four years earlier in Singapore, Jake Lambert claimed the team silver.
“Ever since Emily went I have wanted to do this,” says Burnett-Grant, who will compete on borrowed horses at the event.
While that may get some riders’ tummies doing flips, it won’t be the case for this one.
“My goal is always to win . . . I don’t really feel the pressure.”
She’s very much looking forward to the October event, but particularly because she will be sharing the experience with her parents Dave and Karen, sister Hannah and a larger group of extended family.
“It is so exciting everyone will be there.”
But the timing couldn’t be worse – with her NCEA Level 3 exams looming in early November, there is no time for the Burnett-Grant clan to do any travelling after the event.
In preparation for the Youth Olympic Games, Burnett-Grant says she will be riding her younger horses more and probably bring her team in earlier.
New Zealand riders who wanted to be considered for selection had to compete in the FEI World Jumping Challenge last year as well as post good results throughout the 2017-2018 season.
The Youth Olympic Games are the world’s largest multi-sport event for high performance youth athletes and embraces the Olympic values of respect, friendship and excellence. It is for athletes between 14-18 and held every four years with an alternate two year drop of winter and summer games.
There will be 32 sports represented at Buenos Aires, with sports climbing, karate, breaking (a form of dance sports) and inline speed skating on début. Squash and Polo will be showcase sports this year.
WHAT: 2018 Youth Olympic Games
WHERE: Buenos Aires, Argentina
WHEN: October 6-18, 2018
MORE INFO: https://www.buenosaires2018.com/en/the-games