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PARALYMPICS: Anne riding on
ANNE Dunham says the passion to continue her glittering career is as strong as ever despite her chances of competing at a fifth-straight Paralympic Games being all but over.
With a rule change dropping the number of places in a nation’s para-dressage team from seven to five, the 63-year-old five-time Paralympic gold medallist did not make the London 2012 cut for Great Britain this week.
She has instead been named first reserve with long-time ride Teddy Edwards.
The Broad Hinton veteran, who has seven Paralympic medals in total, admits that she was surprised not to be given the nod for the British quintet in the Grade 1a category but is determined to come back stronger and prove that the selectors made the wrong choice.
Dunham told the Gazette and Herald: “I’ve had a very good season on both horses (Teddy Edwards and LJT Lucas Normark), but it’s been a close-run thing all year.
“You don’t find out why they’ve made their decisions but I think they’ve picked a team to try and win a gold medal in every class and keep up our unbeaten record.
“I haven’t quite got over it and it will take me a while to get over it.
“There’s a bit of personal disappointment for me but I wish the team well and I’m sure we will do well in London.
“I’m disappointed for myself and also for all the people who have supported me, such as my family, my sponsors and owner. It’s all a bit gutting really.
“I’m very supportive of who they are taking, I think we have a very good chance of winning team gold.’’ She added: “I’m sure they will be a very successful squad, in fact I know they will be.
“I’ve said all along that they could take any combination of riders and do very well.’’ Berkshire's Sophie Christiansen, who last week pushed Dunham into second and third in an international para-dressage competition at Hartpury's Festival of Dressage in Gloucestershire, has been given the nod for the 1a category with horse Janeiro 6.
Dunham said: “I’ve got to try to show that they made a mistake and there’s no way that I’m going to slow down now. Lucas has already qualified for the KBIS Para- Dressage Championships in September.
“I’ve got a big gap in my diary but I’ve got to carry on training as if I’m going to London.
“The reserve period is right through until August 20 and if anyone is unlucky, I’ll be there but I don’t wish that to happen to anybody.”
She said: “My team have worked so hard to get me where I am and my daughter Amber and my sister Gill are exhausted because they haven’t had a break for a year.
“Once the reserve period is over, I think we’ll all look to go away on holiday.”
“(But) I can’t give myself a holiday for an amount of time. I’m planning for the future.’’
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