Fri, Aug 28, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese rider wins event to book place at Rio Games

‘THE PERFECT MATCH’:The equestrian athlete said that despite her horse, Zadarijke, being bred for dressage, they have built up a special relationship

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese rider Isheau Wong (汪亦岫) is to compete in an equestrian event at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year after clinching the sole individual place on offer at a qualifying competition in Hagen, Germany, on Wednesday.

Wong would be the first Taiwanese to compete in an equestrian event at the Olympics.

Wong wrote on Facebook that she had an “amazing day in the Hagen Olympic qualifier,” adding that her horse, Zadarijke, “did it again” and that they are on their way to the Rio Olympics.

According to the Chinese Taipei Equestrian Association (CTEA), the national body for the sport, the Group G Olympic qualifier was attended by 27 athletes from 12 nations, including Taiwan, Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and China.

While two places were on offer for equestrian team events, only one slot was available for the individual jumping category.

The two team spots went to Japan and Australia, the association said.

Though Wong and her three teammates failed in their bid for a team berth, the 26-year-old rider became the only person on the team to enter the final with only four faults, competing for Olympic qualification against Samantha McIntosh of New Zealand.

Wong finished her ride in 36.38 seconds without any faults, three seconds quicker than her opponent.

Speaking to the International Confederation for Equestrian Sports, Wong said that she had “very mixed feelings” about competing against McIntosh, who had been her trainer for a long time.

“We would both always want the best for each other, but today I had to be her rival on the field of play. I did not see her round against the clock, so I just tried to be as fast as I could,” Wong said.

Wong also commented on her 11-year-old Dutch mare.

“She [Zadarijke] is bred for dressage, not jumping, but from the very start, we were the perfect match,” Wong said. “We have formed a great partnership and I have to thank her for everything.”

CTEA chairman Hsu An-chin (許安進) said that it is almost impossible for Taiwanese athletes to compete in equestrian sports in the Olympics because there are so few qualifying places and horses acquired by Taiwanese athletes are not usually of the highest standard.

That Wong has a chance to win is rare and precious, Hsu said, adding that the association would help Wong prepare for the Olympics.

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