"Johannesburg – Paul Hart's withdrawal from the equestrian event at the Olympic Games in London has cost him almost R1 million, The Times reported on Thursday.
“I've had to pay for my horse to live there, to be fed, to be looked after; (that) and horse shows, cost me huge amounts of money,” said Hart.
Tubby Reddy, chief executive of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), said they had been ordered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to include Alex Peternell instead.
CAS ruled in favour of Peternell, ranked 164th in the world, who had objected to the selection of Hart, ranked 442nd.
Hart said his horse Heartbreak Hill's flight to the UK had cost R120,000.
Based in Johannesburg, he ran a business keeping horses and training riders. When he left two months before the Games he lost his business, with many clients and sponsors leaving him.
“I am humiliated. I am very humiliated. You leave South Africa as a hero and you come back as a nobody, really. It is not how you want it to be,” said the 44-year-old.
Peternell has not been living in South Africa for 11 years.
“You have to be based in Europe. In the last local competition I did, there were seven people ahead of me who were medallists from European, world and Olympic competitions. And there were others behind me.” – By Sapa "
Paul we were rooting for you and you were our champion! This has dealt a severe blow to the equestrian community and we are saddened that once again incompetence and politics took an upper hand. South Africans have to compete with the World in isolation and financial ruin and you finally showed us that with enough hard work and determination any rider could go all the way to the top.
On behalf of myself and on this forum I would like to say that we are still in your corner, you have our support!