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Olympics: Sir Mark Todd heads Kiwi equestrian team for Rio Olympics

By David Leggat

Sir Mark Todd is set for an eighth Olympic Games after being named tonight in the New Zealand equestrian team for Rio. Photo / Getty Images.
Sir Mark Todd is set for an eighth Olympic Games after being named tonight in the New Zealand equestrian team for Rio. Photo / Getty Images.

The ageless Mark Todd will spearhead a strong New Zealand eventing team at the Rio Olympics in August.

Todd, 60, becomes New Zealand's oldest male Olympian, and has five medals from his previous appearanes dating back to 1984, when he won the first of his two individual gold medals at Los Angeles riding Charisma.

Going to his eighth Games, he will be joined with fellow London 2012 bronze medallists Jock Paget and Jonelle Price, and newcomer Clark Johnstone in the team, with Price's husband Tim named the travelling reserve.

Johnstone won a team bronze with Todd at the 2010 world games and has been in good recent form.

Palmerston North dressage rider Julie Brougham has won the one available place for New Zealand in the specialist discipline.

Todd said he was thrilled to be picked and feels his horses are in good shape.

''I am very happy with my horses at the moment and the strong team that has been named," he said.

For Johnstone, who was forced to drop out of contention leading into the London Games when his horse was injured, is delighted.

"To go to Rio and try to win a medal for New Zealand has been my No 1 focus for the last four years, so to be one step closer again is really, really exciting. I can't wait," he said.

Brougham will become the third New Zealander to compete in an Olympic dressage programme, after Kallista Field at Sydney in 2000 and Louisa Hill at Athens in 2004 and London four years ago.

Brougham set off for Europe in March to finalise her buildup.

"I am very much looking forward to being part of the New Zealand team at Rio," she said.

"Now we can focus 100% on the preparation and training for the games."

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