Another Paralympic debutant, Germany’s Elke Philip is a former Paralympic skier and a current European bronze medallist. She’s the number six rider in the world and could give the more established names in her grade – the Ia – a real run for their money.
Paralympic.org: How did you get into your sport?
Elke Philip (EP): At the age of 20 I was diagnosed with a brain and cerebellum inflammation. Before that I was a very active person. I loved skiing, basketball, dancing, swimming and athletics. Eight years later in 1992 I discovered hippotherapie and I found the way to the fitness studio with physical trainers. Later I became a member of the German Para skiing team. I started riding in 2005 and competing in 2011.
What does it mean to you personally to represent Germany at Rio 2016?
EP: It´s the highlight of my sports career and I´m so proud and happy to represent the colours of Germany. It´s a wonderful feeling, that I have done a good training job together with my team. The dream becomes reality.
What would it mean to you personally if you won a medal in Rio?
EP: A medal would be the top of a successful and intensive work schedule and perfect management. And also a thank you to all the people and horses who have helped me. I´m just the person who implements all of that and I have to bring it to the point. This is not possible without perfect preparations by my team.
If you had to pick five words to describe yourself what would they be?
EP: I`m a purposeful, focused, straightforward, friendly and positive-thinking person.
Who do you see as your biggest rivals in Rio?
EP: My biggest rivals in Rio are the British riders Sophie Christiansen and Anne Dunham and Laurentia Tan (Singapore) and Sara Morganti (Italy). All the riders have my respect, because they invest all their energy and passion into the Paralympics in Rio.
Do you have any superstitions or routines which you go through when competing?
EP: Yes I have. My routine begins when I put my riding outfit on and when I do my make-up. I focus on the arena and find a quiet corner to concentrate me for the test. I ask my groom how Regaliz feels and when I sit on him I am absolutely quiet and feel my horse.
What advice would you give any riders starting out in your sport?
EP: Do it with heart, commitment and many pleasures, and have a real target.
If you could pick one thing about your sport what do you most enjoy?
EP: I mostly enjoy the perfect interplay between Regaliz. To win a competition would be overwhelming.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or not, who would that be?
EP: My husband, Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela.
Who is your biggest inspiration in life?
EP: I, myself, because I got the chance to live
Para equestrian competition at Rio 2016 begins 11 September, with medal events taking place 13-16 September, at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodoro.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.
Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.