Olympic hopeful hasn't missed an EKKA yet
|Olympic hopeful hasn't missed an EKKA yet - 10th Aug 2012|
|Ever since she can remember, Olympic hopeful Gemma Creighton has attended the EKKA. She is possibly the only competitor who can claim to have been every year since she was born. This year the showjump rider will be celebrating her nineteenth EKKA.|
"Even before I'd celebrated my first birthday I'd been to an EKKA. Dad was competing at the time and mum just took us along. The shows have always been part of life for us. Mum even went into labour with my brother one year, we just wouldn't miss an EKKA for anything," Gemma Creighton said.
Having graduated from school, Creighton is now riding and competing full time. She hopes to follow in the footsteps of her coach and father, dual Olympian Guy Creighton. The London Olympics adding to the determination of the nineteen year old rider who was too young to qualify for these games.
"To watch people like Australia's Edwina Tops-Alexander in action just gives you that extra boost to want to do well,"
"I still have plenty of hard work to do but I'm firmly focused on one day competing in the Olympics. Shows like EKKA offer essential competition experience because they bring together top riders from around the country," she said.
For Gemma it's also the second year she's old enough to compete in the open rider classes. Having carved out a name for herself in the junior ranks, she now has to prove she has what it takes to place in the senior grades.
"It's a big deal for me. This is a premier event, and the calibre of horse and rider out there will be second to none. I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself because I want to do well," she said.
Her father and coach Guy Creighton has been a regular face at the EKKA for over 20 years. He's competed in all the Royal shows around the country and rates the EKKA as one of his favourites. Now a coach, he said the open classes will be a new challenge for Gemma.
"She's used to doing well with riders around her own age. Suddenly she's going to be up against some of Australia's top riders, some of whom have been competing since before she was born. If she holds her own I'll be proud," he said.
Creighton has brought a string of horses from her home in Helidon near Toowoomba. She will be jumping up to 1.40 meters and taking part in the evening crowd entertainment. Gemma will be based at the EKKA from Sunday 12 August to Friday 17 August.