- Story and photo courtesy of Western Australian Institute of Sport.
Wally Foreman Foundation scholarship holder, para-equestrian athlete Sharon Jarvis, has earned selection for the Australian Team for 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
Jarvis headlines the Australian team of four as the only returning Paralympian, following her debut in Beijing in 2008.
Australia boasts a proud record in para-equestrian having won nine medals in the sport since it was introduced to the Paralympic roster in Atlanta 1996. This success includes; three gold, one silver and five bronze.
Jarvis, who has limited strength and movement on her left side as a result of bone cancer, will compete in the Grade III class at the equestrian arena at Deodoro Stadium with horse Ceasy, a Dutch Warmblood.
After finishing fourth in Beijing, Jarvis was left heartbroken ahead of the London Paralympics, when she missed out on qualification when her competition horse Applewood Odorado fell lame with selection looking likely.
The Donnybrook raised athlete admitted that the disappointment of London four years ago had fuelled her Rio ambitions, along with a proud desire to represent cancer survivors and regional WA.
"My main motivation has been to get to another Games so I can have another shot at the podium,” the 37 year-old said.
"I want to show that cancer sufferers and survivors - that anyone - can achieve great things, and I want to show everyone in country WA that they can get there too.
"I’m looking forward to seeing the Australian flag fly at another Paralympic Games. It is a very exciting opportunity to be selected, and makes all the hard work over the years, well worth it."
Kate McLoughlin, Chef de Mission of the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team hopes the country’s legacy will continue to grow in Rio with Jarvis joined in action by Emma Booth, Katie Umback and Lisa Martin.
"London 2012 saw the Equestrian Team win Australia’s very first Paralympic gold medal of the Games, and although there will be just 11 medals on offer in Rio, we’ve got high hopes that Sharon, Emma, Katie and Lisa can enhance our country’s record of success in Para-equestrian,” McLoughlin said.
"It will be tough, but I’m confident in our team’s ability to succeed.”
Paralympic equestrian is open to athletes with a physical disability or vision impairment. Competition is divided into five grades based on an athlete’s level of function across individual championship, freestyle to music and team events.
The Rio Paralympic Games will take place from 7 September through to 18 September, 2016.
Jarvis becomes the second officially selected WA Paralympian on the 2016 Australian team, joining shooter Anton Zappelli.