It was an evening of celebration as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall received Rio 2016 equestrian Olympic and Paralympic medallists, horse owners and members of the core support team at a reception at Clarence House.
With over seventy guests in attendance, the evening provided a fantastic opportunity to join together to celebrate a successful 2016 campaign, which saw the British teams bring home fourteen medals, nine of them gold.
The Duchess of Cornwall congratulated all the athletes present and joked that it was a shame the horses couldn’t have made it; “I just wanted to congratulate all of you, the riders, owners, grooms and trainers, and of course the horses – I wish that we could have got them here tonight. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for Tokyo, and I hope we’ll be seeing you all in four years’ time with a lot of medals around your neck. Congratulations again.”
Maintaining their unbeaten team record in the summer, and recording one of the squads biggest medal hauls to date, Great Britain’s para-dressage team quartet were first to be presented to Her Royal Highness. Commenting after the reception, triple Paralympic gold medallist Natasha Baker MBE commented; “It’s a huge honour to be invited here. She’s so welcoming and asked lovely questions on how our horses were getting on and how Rio was. It’s so nice to catch-up with the team, we haven’t seen each other for a while, and it’s even more special to be here tonight with all the other disciplines as well. This evening feels like the end of the Rio chapter and the beginning of the Tokyo chapter.”
Chief Executive of the BEF, Clare Salmon, said; “Our very warm thanks to our very generous and incredibly knowledgeable Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, who has welcomed us so splendidly to her home. We are here tonight to recognise the momentous achievements of our Olympians and Paralympians in Rio, and everyone here has played a part in this. It has been a fantastic journey, and we look forward to Tokyo.”