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Paralympian Moller speaks on life in Russia

London Paralympian Wendy Moller may currently be living on the other side of the world but she still has high hopes of competing at the next Games in Rio de Janeiro in four years time, writes Mark Etheridge.

Moller, a dressage expert in the equestrian arena, has been living in Russia for the last three months and is immersed in learning the new culture and language.

The Moller family underwent a testing time, to put it mildly, in London last year. She dislocated her shoulder three times at the Games and on top of this had to shoulder an immense emotional and financial burden after her husband lost his job while she overseas.

Her shoulder was operated on twice when she came back from London to repair the joint and remove bone fragments. On the job front, her husband was unable to find work in his field for a period of eight months. “My husband is an environmental auditor but after eight months of no income and nothing coming up we had no choice but to make the big move.

So they’ve now swopped Benoni, Gauteng for the island life, but this is anything but the tropical island life!

“So now we’re in Yuhzno Sakhalinsk on Sakhalin Island, above Japan,” Moller, right, told Road to Rio 2016. It’s a challenge as everything ÔÇô all food labels, shop prices, menus ÔÇô is in Russian and they don’t speak English at all, so I’ve started Russian lessons.”

In terms of riding “The operation was good and I’m good to go. I’ve done some yoga here and also swimming.

“Of course I want to go to Rio. I’ve already qualified for world’s in London on First Lady and that’s happening next year so I really need to start training. I’m hoping to get to Belgium for some internationals with Pipps next year.

“Pipps is still in Belgium as is First Lady. I also have a horse I can ride in the United States if South Africa is not flying horses to Rio, which is very possible, so I’m also hoping to get over there and ride. I’m coming back to South Africa for three weeks at the end of October so will get some riding done. It’s starting to get cold over here and the mid-winter temperature drops to minus 15deg Celcius hereÔǪ I’m going to freeze.”

Not permitted to work right now, Moller plans to teach at the local stables and give some English riding lessons. Right now she’s waiting for a container of freight to arrive from South Africa. “I’ve found a place to go riding but I can’t get there because the hand controls for the car I have got is in my freight container that still hasn’t left SA after three months!”


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