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NORA SADDLES UP FOR SEA GAMES
By: Manju- Viravudh​ | 5 months ago

A Cambodian-born girl who has lived in the United States since her adoption as a bany by an American family is saddling up to represent her country of birth in the exotic showjumping event at the SEA Games in Malaysia this August.

 

The Cambodian Equestrian Federation led by President Mona Tep is all agog at the prospect of a talented 17-year old Eleanor, who goes by her nick name Nora among friends and Family, making the national team as one of the brightest medal hopes in recent times."We can realistically hope for a medal in Malaysia if Nora performs at her full potential. Her story is very inspiring and we are eagerly awaiting her arrival" Mona Tep, herself an accomplished jump rider, told the Post yesterday.

 

The CEF has been coordinating closely with the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia to make sure that Nora's childhood dream of riding for her country comes true. Since coming in contact with the equestrian fraternity here on her return to the Kingdom for the first time nearly four years ago, Nora has been religiously training with a Cambodian flag plastered on the inside lid of her riding materials trunk, never wavering in her belief that she would one day win a medal.

 

Nora lives with the Lynn Family which adopted her in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She attends high school where her love for maths and physics can only compete with her passion for horses she rides between 20 to 25 hours a week with 10-12 show weeks thrown in each year.Nora began riding when she was almost six years old. She went to watch a friend’s pony lesson. After which she kept asking her parents for months. They relented and she began riding ponies and quickly enough horses. The family had no history with the horses but that didn't stop Nora though riding wasn't easy either.

 

At a very young age, Nora had developed hearing impairment and that clearly showed up in balance issues. Yet she refused to give up.She began competing at small local events when she was seven. Her early years do not show much of a success. She loved the sport and the horses wherever she finished but she managed to place well in her age groups.

 

When she was ten she started taking lessons and watching master clinics at riding centers in Florida and California where a much higher level of skills were on display compared to her own small city. But on the sidelines, she got interested in the activities of the Just World International, an organization, founded by Jessica Newman, where equestrians from all over the world joined in the goal of fundraising and supporting schools in under-resourced areas.

 

It was her role as an ambassador of Just World, supporters of PIO schools in Phnom Penh. that eventually brought her to Cambodia to visit the institutions she and her friends had been helping out.

The visit also opened up a chance for her to meet representatives from the Cambodian Equestrian Federation. After reading an article about the Maddox therapeutic riding program at the Cambodian Country Club she started collecting helmets, boots, and other equipment, delivering them to the benefit of Cambodian riders.

 

Following her trip to Phnom Penh, Nora received brand new technologically advanced hearing aids to that brought about huge improvements in her balance and hearing. It showed in the horse park. She won several important events and was invited to compete in the 2013 National Finals in Washington DC.

 

As her record picked up so did her ability to tackle higher levels of competition and handle higher jumps. In fact, Nora enjoys a distinct advantage among Cambodian riders since she is the only one to have jumped hurdles as high as 135 or 140 cms that Malaysia offers.

 

Currently Nora is training with a high ranked American Grand Prix rider, Kristin Hardin. It requires bi-weekly trips from her home in New Mexico to the trainer’s base, or to competitions, in California, 1000 miles away.

''She has the full support of our family as well as a growing list of sponsors who are assisting Nora, and the other Cambodian team members, as well, with important equipment and other support" Nora's mother Theresa Lynn told the Post in an Email.


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