EQUESTRIAN: The Australian Dressage team have performed exceptionally to finish in the top 10 at the 2014 World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy, France, and secure a quota place for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Team veteran Mary Hanna was the stand-out and secured her spot in the Grand Prix Special.
By placing 10th with a score of 210.829, Australia is the top nation from South East Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East and therefore qualifies them a place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Although still to be ratified by the International Federation, this will be the first quota place secured by Australia for the Games in August 2016.
The Australian Team in Normandy comprised Olympians Mary Hanna, Kristy Oatley, Lyndal Oatley and Maree Tomkinson who will be hoping to get selected for her first Olympic Team for Rio 2016.
Germany (241.700) won the Team Dressage at the 2014 WEG followed by Great Britain (231.343) and The Netherlands (227.400). From the top 10 nations, seven nations were from Europe, two from North America and Australia. Final results here>>>>
Hanna and Sancette finished strong for the Aussies with a score of 70.929 in the Grand Prix, allowing her to qualify for the Grand Prix Special the following day.
The seasoned veteran who has four World Equestrian Games and four Olympic Games to her name, was thrilled with her performance and thanked all the supporters who cheered them on.
"I never came over (to Europe) expecting to do this. I qualified for the World Cup Final as the representative for Australia from the Pacific League Final and I said to myself if he gets through that and makes it to here (WEG) then that's a bonus.
"It's so cool to see all the Aussies here. It makes a huge difference when you get out there and feel the crowd behind you, so we thank each and every one of them," said Hanna.
It wasn't quite the campaign Kristy Oatley had planned with Ronan 2, the three-time Olympian finished with 63.771.
Automatic Olympic qualification from WEG was a key goal for the Australians coming into the Games and Equestrian Australia (EA) High Performance Manager Chris Webb said it is a huge boost for the team's preparation for Rio.
"It's all but confirmed we have secured our spot for dressage at the next Olympics with Australia edging out the countries we needed to - it's just a matter of paperwork now.
"This WEG team knew we had to post strong scores to achieve automatic qualification and they came out and did that.
"Post WEG we will be able to purely focus on our road to Rio campaign - but for now we can really reflect on the great work that all riders have done here in Normandy," said Webb.
Equestrian Australia and AOC