RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The first Zimbabwean rider to compete in an Olympic equestrian event cleared a difficult cross country course that trapped many more experienced riders.
Camilla Kruger, 29, grew up on her family’s farm in the Southern African nation riding race horses but moved to England to finish school and train. She hopes to win a medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“Riders that I really look up to were having problems ... so I thought we’ve got nothing to prove right now. Just get the horse home, take alternate routes, be safe,” she said of Monday’s course that 18 horses and riders failed to complete.
That left her with time penalties, but only three riders of 65 managed to finish the 5 km obstacle course in the time allowed and several fell off trying.
Kruger, who competes in a helmet covered with the colorful Zimbabwean flag, had two rails down in the third and final show jumping phase of eventing on Tuesday, but gave her horse Biarritz a hearty pat on the neck as they finished to loud applause.
Biarritz is owned by investors in a syndicate.
Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Alison Williams