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17 August, 2021

Olympic medal for former Tablelands rider

After decades of commitment to his sport, an Australian equestrian rider who started his career on the Tablelands has seen his Olympic dream come true bringing home a silver medal from Tokyo.

By Rhys Thomas

CHAMPION: Former Tablelands local Kevin McNab has realised a lifelong dream competing in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics taking home a silver medal in the equestrian team eventing. PHOTO CREDIT: HIPPO FOTO MEDIA.

KEVIN McNab started his career on the Tablelands at the age of two, dedicating his life to equestrian sports. 

Over four decades on Kevin has had that commitment rewarded after he brought home silver at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Kevin, now 43, has realised his dream of representing Australia on the world stage, being part of the Australian Equestrian team in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Born in Cairns the Queenslander spent many of his young years on the Tablelands before moving to the southeast corner for an equestrian program. 

While Queensland remains his home Kevin spends a lot of his time outside of London in the United Kingdom, pursing his equestrian dreams.

Kevin credits his mother’s ‘mistake’ of putting him on his first horse when he was two that started his journey to the world stage. 

“My mum made the mistake of putting me on a horse when I was two,” he said. 

“I ended up going to pony club and it really snowballed from there.

“Riding horses is one of those things you either love or you don’t… I was never going to do anything else.” 

He may be an Olympian now but 40 years ago Kevin was just a young man riding horses on the Tablelands for the Malanda, Millaa Millaa and Mareeba Pony Clubs at one stage or another. 

“It all happens in such a rush, but it is something that we have been training towards and planning for years so when it happens It is, in a lot of ways, another day at the office,” he said.

“Afterwards it’s like wow we’ve just been to the Olympics and we have a silver medal. 

“It’s surreal but I am really happy that I was able to do that one for myself, for my family and everyone else that has supported me over the years, it makes it all worthwhile.” 

On the road to the Olympics Kevin travelled the world participating in as many five-star events as he could in contention to the upcoming games. 

Through hard work and perseverance Kevin was named as a reserve for the games, however through a stroke of luck he was able to secure a spot in the competing team. 

“History has a habit of repeating itself and it does tend to happen that in the lead up to championships there are always injuries, it’s the nature of the beast,” Kevin said. 

“Things do go wrong and their misfortune was my fortune, it’s never a nice place to be in because it would be nice to be selected outright and not due to someone’s misfortune.

“When the opportunity presented itself I was happy to take it, it was an amazing opportunity.”

While reveling in the accomplishments of his teammates and himself, Kevin also had high praise for the Australian High Performance program. 

“The High Performance program in Australia is revolutionary, I have witnessed a lot of other teams at Tokyo that didn’t work as smoothly as what the Australian High Performance program did,” he said. 

Now with one medal under his belt Kevin is eyeing off the next games set to be held in France in 2024.


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