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Para-equestrians mark 200 days to go

February 11, 2012

Today marks the 200-day countdown to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, which appears set to take Paralympic Equestrian into the history books.

Denmark's Stinna Kaastrup, pictured here preparing for the Freestyle Grade Ib competition at the FEI European Para-Equestrian Dressage Championships 2011 in Belgium, which she went on to win aged just 17. The double bronze and silver Freestyle medalist at the World Equestrian Games 2010 is training hard - Denmark has secured a team of four and one individual slot for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. © Liz Gregg
Sales of Paralympic Equestrian tickets for London 2012 have already broken records.

More than 40,000 tickets were sold before Christmas last year, dramatically overtaking the previous record of 33,000 for the 2008 Paralympic Equestrian events held in Hong Kong.

Mexico will also be making its Paralympic Equestrian début on 30 August to 4 September in Greenwich Park represented by a team of four riders, and Ireland will be competing for the very first time as a Paralympic Equestrian Team.

"This will be a landmark Paralympic Games and we are looking forward to securing several more 'firsts' for Paralympic Equestrian in Greenwich Park," said Trond Asmyr, FEI Director of Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage.

"Brazil's Marcos Alves and Singapore's Laurentia Tan both picked up bronze medals in 2008, and these were not just the first Para-Equestrian medals for Brazil and Singapore but for South America and Asia.

"Lauren Barwick also secured Canada's first Paralympic Equestrian gold medal in 2008, as did Philippa Johnson for South Africa.

"The London 2012 Paralympics now feel closer than ever, with 23 nations qualified and just three individual qualification slots remaining.

"All eyes are now on 9 April, when the names of these three athletes will be announced."

In 2006, the FEI became one of the first International Federations to govern and regulate a sport for disabled athletes when Para-Equestrian Dressage joined the ranks of the seven disciplines the FEI regulates. Para-Equestrian Dressage is the only equestrian discipline that is included in the Paralympic Games, where it has been a regular fixture since Atlanta 1996.

Twenty-three nations have already qualified for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.



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