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Smith to Lead NZ at World Champs Opening Ceremony

Smith to Lead NZ at World Champs Opening Ceremony

New Zealand endurance rider Andrea Smith will carry her nation's flag at the opening ceremony of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in France tomorrow night (Aug 23, France time).

The 43-year-old from Mangaweka, who with her daughter Georgia are the first mother-daughter combination to compete at championship level for New Zealand equestrian, will lead the team.

The opening ceremony promises to be a trip through Norman and equestrian history to follow the national delegations' parade. Around 20,000 spectators are expected at d'Ornano Stadium in Caen for the spectacle which launches 15 very exciting days of competition.

Equestrian Sports New Zealand chef d'mission Sarah Harris says it is fitting for Smith, as the current New Zealand national endurance champ, to be the flag-bearer.

“She really has earned the right,” said Harris. “She heads into these championships in very good form.”

Anthea Dixon, New Zealand's first World Champs para-dressage representative, will carry the country sign.

On Tuesday, Dixon will be the first of the Kiwi athletes to compete, followed by the endurance competition and eventing's opening dressage day on Thursday. New Zealand is also represented in showjumping and vaulting.

“There is a real buzz in the air here as the athletes from all over the world arrive,” says Harris. “Normandy is really getting behind the event, with tickets sold out for most sessions.”

The games feature jumping, dressage, eventing, driving, reining, vaulting, endurance and para-dressage, with competitors expected from 76 nations.

The Fact Box

• The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games run from August 23 – September 7 in France.

• New Zealand will be represented by teams in eventing, vaulting, endurance, para-dressage and showjumping

• WEG is held every four years in different locations.

• A record 76 countries are expected to take part, making it the world’s largest equestrian sport event.

• More than 400,000 people are expected to attend over the two weeks.

• For more information, head to www.normandy2014.com .

ENDS


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