9 May 2024

Equestrian Louise Duncan scores spot in Paris Paralympics

7:23 pm on 9 May 2024
Louise Duncan rides Showcase BC.

Louise Duncan joins five Para athletes and Paralympians already named for the New Zealand Paralympic Team. Photo: Libby Law

New Zealand's newest Para equestrian says she has had an emotional 24 hours finding out she qualified for the Paris Paralympics while losing her biggest fan.

The dressage rider, Louise Duncan, will be competing at the games with her horse Showcase BC.

But on the same day the selection was announced her grandfather, a huge supporter, died.

Luckily, she was able to share the news with him before he passed, which Duncan told Midday Report made the selection even more special.

"I just couldn't believe it. I'm still pinching myself because it's just a dream come true.

"It's something I had always thought about. Everyone, I think, as a little child grows up thinking you'd love to represent your country and make your country really proud. And I just feel so proud to have been selected."

"Granddad's such a support and is so much of my family. He was so happy for me to have been selected, and I know he will be so proud to be with me over there on my shoulder while I'm riding."

She told her granddad she had won a slot in the New Zealand Paralympic Team before the news was formally announced.

"I definitely was thrilled to be able to share that with him and see how excited he was," she said.

Duncan had meningitis as a teenager, which caused a series of strokes, leaving her with temporary paralysis from the neck down.

She now gets aura migraines, all four of her limbs are reduced in function, and her balance and coordination are affected.

The Levin resident said she was excited to have made the Paris team after her 2020 Tokyo Olympics bid was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I'm just so excited to be there for everything and meeting all the amazing athletes, the new athletes that are coming through, and of course our amazing past athletes that have done New Zealand proud at the games previously and the whole experience just being immersed into everything."

Duncan said getting her horse Showcase BC to Paris should be a breeze.

"He'll go on a plane and as far as I know, we haven't actually got that far in the logistics yet, horses do generally need either time to settle in and that is about a six-week thing or you get in there and you sort of do it in the first couple of weeks so that they're right and ready to go."

She joins five Para athletes and Paralympians already named for the New Zealand Paralympic Team.

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