Sharon hunts for 2012 Olympic gold

OLYMPIC medallist Sharon Hunt has only been back in Suffolk a couple of days, but she already has her sights on winning a gold in London in 2012.

Carl Marston

OLYMPIC medallist Sharon Hunt has only been back in Suffolk a couple of days, but she already has her sights on winning a gold in London in 2012.

Sharon lapped up every minute of her debut appearance at the Olympics, which was crowned by a bronze medal in the team event.

The 30-year-old from Great Saxham, near Bury St Edmunds, was a member of the British team that also included Tina Cook, William Fox-Pitt, Mary King and Daisy Dick.

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Riding her top horse, Tankers Town, Sharon impressed in the dressage, cross country and jumping phases as Team GB finished third behind winners Germany and second-placed Australia. Cook was also third in the individual competition.

“Competing at the Olympics was every bit as good as I dreamt it would be, and I feel so lucky to win a medal in my first Olympics,” said Sharon from her Great Saxham home yesterday.

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“It's definitely given me the taste for doing more Olympics in the future. I want to win a gold medal in London.

“The whole experience was unbelievable. It is something that I will never forget. In fact, it was even better than I had imagined.

“Tankers Town will be too old by the time of the London Olympics, so the search starts for another impressive horse, which means searching for an owner and sponsors.

“He felt very settled in the dressage, and I think that the judges might have been a little more generous with their marks,” added Sharon, who was lying in 18th after that first stage.

She continued: “He was superb in the cross country, and was very tired when he ran out the second last fence (20-point penalty). I was very chuffed with him. It was a very brave and honest ride on a very difficult course, which was fast and furious.

“Some people said that the course was too short, but the horses were all very tired at the end in the hot conditions, so I think it was about right.

“The jumping was an exciting finale. Again, Tankers Town jumped so well.”

The equestrian events all took place at the Hong Kong Equestrian Centre, rather than in Beijing, in order to adhere to the necessary quarantine protocols, but this did not detract from the overall experience.

“We were all the centre of attention in Hong Kong, and we certainly felt very much a part of the Olympics,” said Sharon.

“We didn't feel separate in any way. The weather and fantastic and the competition was brilliant.

“Although I was making my Olympics debut, I was able to get loads of advice from the more experienced members of the team, especially Mary King and William Fox-Pitt.

“I had millions of questions to ask them, and I learnt a lot about how I can improve.

“It feels great to have been a part of such a successful Great Britain team. We have won so many medals, and hopefully there are a lot more to come.”

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