Equestrian: Anush clinches India's first ever bronze medal in individual dressage event

It was very unfortunate, we were also hopeful of him a medal, team manager and doctor Mohd Adil Yakub told PTI.On Tuesday, Agarwalla had teamed up with Chheda, Divyakriti Singh and Sudipti Hajela to win the dressage team gold after 41 years.I knew that it would be good.

PTI | Hangzhou | Updated: 28-09-2023 19:14 IST | Created: 28-09-2023 19:14 IST
Equestrian: Anush clinches India's first ever bronze medal in individual dressage event
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Anush Agarwalla won India's first-ever individual medal in the dressage competition of the equestrian at the Asian Games here on Thursday.

Astride Etro, Agarwalla scored 73.030 to finish third and claimed his second medal of the Asian Games.

India have won 13 medals in the Asian Games equestrian event since 1951, including the dressage team gold here on Tuesday. But, the country had never won an individual medal in dressage in the past.

Bin Mahamad Fathil Mohd Qabil Ambak of Malaysia won the gold with a total score of 75.780, while Jacqueline Wing Ying Siu of Hong Kong bagged the silver scoring 73.450.

The other Indian in fray, Hriday Vipul Chheda, who topped the qualifying on Wednesday, was eliminated after blood was spotted on the left foreleg of his horse Chemxpro Emerald and did not feature in the medal competition.

''There was a small scratch on the left foreleg of Vipul's horse and so little bit of fresh blood could be seen. So under the rules, he was eliminated. It was very unfortunate, we were also hopeful of him (a medal),'' team manager and doctor Mohd Adil Yakub told PTI.

On Tuesday, Agarwalla had teamed up with Chheda, Divyakriti Singh and Sudipti Hajela to win the dressage team gold after 41 years.

''I knew that it would be good. I had a good partnership with my horse. In the morning when I woke up, I texted my mother that it will be good and we will get something today. My horse was amazing,'' Agarwalla said after winning the historic bronze.

''I hope these medals give a boost to the equestrian sports in India. I think this will inspire a lot of people to take up the sport. India has potential to win a lot of medals in future as well,'' an emotional Agarwalla said.

''It has been a long journey, a very difficult one. A lot of time, I thought maybe I am not good enough. But holding this medal today, it's all worth it. I am very happy how it all went,'' said the 23-year-old from Kolkata.

He said he spent some nervous moments when he finished his competition and the last rider just after him was on the field.

''When the last rider went, I knew I was third (at that time). I knew he (the last rider) was a very strong competitor. It was very difficult for me in those six minutes before his result came out. It felt like six years.

''I could not breathe, I was so nervous. In fact, I was more nervous during those moments than the past few days. I thanked all my competitors for showing great sportsmanship. It has been a tough battle and an interesting battle, and something I will always remember.'' On Chheda being eliminated from the medal competition,'' Agarwalla said.

''It is a pity, he (Hriday) is a great competitor. But it's part and parcel of the sport. We rise and fall together. I am really proud of him for how he managed on the first day.

''He is still an Asian Games gold-winning champion. He was also winning the test yesterday. That shows he is good enough. He just had bad luck today.'' How 'Tolly Club' membership became fuel to learn equestrian ====================================== Agarwalla left India in 2017 and is currently based out of Borchen in Germany. He said he was initiated to horse riding by their parents at Kolkata's Elite Tolly Club.

''My parents inspired me to take up dressage. There is a small riding club not too far from my home, that is called Tollygunge Club. My parents took me to the club to ride on Sundays, especially because they wanted to become members of this club.

''The rule is that one person from the family will have to play one sport. So my father said 'let us put Anush into horse riding. After riding, I used to have an ice cream. That is how the journey started.'' Slowly, Agarwalla developed a passion for riding and when he was 11-year-old, he would fly to New Delhi at weekends because he switched trainers to the national capital.

''So, I studied in Kolkata from Monday to Friday and then would fly to Delhi on weekends. At the age of 17, I realised I am not good enough, either I quit or do something to compete at the highest level. Then I decided to move to Germany.'' Anush became the first male dressage rider from India to compete at the world equestrian Games in 2022 in Herning, Denmark.

''It gave a big boost to my confidence because I came to realise that I can compete against the best in the world. There were Olympic medallists, other OLympians. It helped me immensely in the preparations for the Asian Games.'' Riders have an interesting relationship with their horses and it's the same between Agarwalla and Etro.

''I have a young partnership with my horse Etro, started in February and it's our seventh or eighth show together. He is a nine year old stallion. He loves attention and spotlight. He loves people watching him.

''The moment he landed in China (on September 21) he knew it was game time. It is warm in China and very difficult for horses especially for a nine-year-old and playing for the second time in three days. We were perfectly in sync. He was perfectly relaxed after the medal ceremony. He (horse) is an amazing 'boy'. I hope I can crack the Grand Prix level with him.''

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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