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Tag: Olympic Eventing Tickets

Olympic Eventing: Pakistan’s Usman Khan Achieves Tokyo Olympic Qualification

Olympic qualification for Tokyo Olympic was very much the focus of a few riders at Wallaby Hill International in NSW, Australia this weekend where the CCI4*-L class provided an opportunity for riders still looking to qualify for Tokyo to gain an MER (Minimum Eligibility Requirements) qualifying result.

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Some of the riders in the CCI4*-L have already represented their country at an Olympic 2020 Games, with Australia’s Shane Rose winning and Amanda Ross in fourth place while New Zealand’s Clarke Johnstone finished second on Balmoral Sensation. But it was a horse and rider from a different FEI Olympic Group that we have been keeping a key eye on in the lead up to this event.

 Usman had hoped to qualify with his grey mare Al Burqa but, horses being horses, things went awry early in 2019, and Usman had to find another horse and start again. The 12-year-old bay gelding Azad Kashmir (originally named Here to Stay) was previously competed by Belinda Isbister in Western Australia but Usman bought him in early 2019, took over the ride and had his first start in competition at Camper down in April where they finished sixth in the CCI2*-S on their dressage score.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well at the Melbourne International 3 Day Event in June where Usman fell on cross country, prompting him to think about the time he needed to get to know his new horse and, at that point, Usman decided to quit his job as an IT Consultant to the Government and focus on his goal of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

 “You can’t (easily) compete against these guys,” says Usman “But you can do one thing. You can quit your professional job for the time being to try and focus on things that matter the most for at least the next 6 – 12 months”

 We caught up with Usman again in October at the Lynton Horse Trials in Goulburn where the organizing committee had generously agreed to run a CCI3*-L specifically for Usman and Azad Kashmir so that they could try and achieve an MER at this level, enabling them to compete at Wallaby Hill CCI4*-L, where a successful completion in December could provide Usman and Azad Kashmir with the vital MER for Olympic qualification. We talked to Usman after his cross country run at Goulburn and filmed this interview, but he asked if we could wait to show it until after Wallaby Hill …’ inshallah’.

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We were delighted to hear that Usman and Azad Kashmir completed the CCI4*-L at Wallaby Hill last weekend; they started with a good dressage score of 35.10, added just 2.8-time penalties on Mike Etherington-Smith’s cross country course to be in ninth place and, although they picked up 16 jumping penalties on the last day to drop to 13th, this was good enough to earn their MER and achieve Tokyo 2020 qualification – a huge achievement for Usman and Pakistan.

“It would be very chastening for us, as a nation, as a country, to compete at the Olympic 2020 Games,” says Usman, who is now one very big step closer.

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Olympic Eventing: Triple Olympic gold medalist Hoy takes lead after the cross-country phase of Tokyo Olympic

Olympic triple-team gold medalist Andrew Hoy of Australia made his way to first place with Bloom of the Hauts Crets after the cross-country phase of the full test for Tokyo Olympic.

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Sixth on the course of 20 fences from Derek Di Grazia to Sea Forest overlooking the heart of Tokyo Bay, the seven-time Olympian and the eight-year-old Selle Français mare crossed the finish line with seven seconds to lose to take the start driving on a score of 27.7 penalties. The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) claims that the increasing heat and humidity provide a perfect environment for testing on-site cooling facilities for equine and human competitors.

“It’s a very nice position to be in and if I win I’m very happy for this year, but it’s next year I want to win,” Hoy said.

My horse was galloping very well and his heart rate and temperature were very good when I arrived. The scary accommodations here on the site were excellent. As an Olympic venue, it is ready a year ago because the terrain is excellent and the construction of the cross country fences is very good, but next year will be very different.

As the Australian jumpsuit was second after the dressage phase, only overnight leaders Yoshiaki Oiwa and Bart L JRA could challenge them. But the Japanese driver was 14 seconds from the clock to collect 5.6 time faults and move to fourth place with 30.1 penalties.

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German superstar Michael Jung, another three-time Olympic gold medalist and heading to Tokyo 2020 as defending champion, straddled the seven-year-old Fischerwild. They also finished clear over the fences and the clock to move into second place with 28.0 penalties.

“It was hot but it wasn’t a big problem,” Jung said.

The grooms and everyone really took great care of the horses, and everyone tried to make the job for horses and riders as easy as possible. Another pair for the host country, Japan, Ryuzo Kitajima, and Vick Du Gisors, almost hit the optimal time of 5min 30sec to go from fourth after dressage to third, ahead of Oiwa and Bart L JRA, with 28.2 penalties.

The compatriot Kazuma Tomato is slightly behind in fifth place on Tacoma d’Horset with 30.4 penalties. Britons Georgie Spence and Halltown Harley complete the top six with 30.6 penalties and there is less than a barrier between them and the leaders. Seven of the 16 runners remain on their dressage marks, while eight others have just had time lapses.

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The only combination to pick up jump penalties was long-distance scouts Kazuya Otomo and Condorcet, who had a run-out to the second element of the inclined rails doubled at fence 10 to fall from one place in the 16th. Tomorrow, the action returns to the new facilities at Baji Koen, site of the equestrian events of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, for the final jump phase.

“Altogether the horses healthier well after the cross country, despite the challenging conditions, and they are all now back home in their air-conditioned stalls at Baji Koen resting ready for tomorrow’s jumping,” Goran Akerström, the FEI’s veterinary director, said.

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