Equestrian: No high medal expectations

India has sent four participants will take part in eventing and three will feature in showjumping. In fact, there was uncertainty about the team’s participation just a month before the Games.

Equestrian still is a niche sport in India, a major reason being it is an expensive sport to pursue.   -  The Hindu Photo Library

Equestrian made its debut at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi and has been included every four years except at the 1990 meet. Extremely popular in most parts of the world, equestrian has three categories — dressage, eventing and showjumping. Though most participating countries have taken the sport seriously, it still is a niche sport in India, a major reason being it is an expensive sport to pursue. The cost of training and maintaining horses is high and may not be affordable for everyone. Things, however, are changing slowly as many youngsters are falling in love with the sport.

At the 1982 Games, India had a golden run in equestrian, but that remains the country’s best showing till date. At the 2014 Incheon Games, the Indian contingent had a forgettable outing as it finished fifth in team eventing. The results in the individual events were also disappointing.

While there will be six events this time around — individual and team — in the three categories, India has fielded teams only in two. Four will take part in eventing and three will feature in showjumping. There, however, is no woman participant. There was uncertainty about the team’s participation just a month before the Games, and India’s medal expectations are not high.

TEAMS
Men’s eventing: Ashish Malik, Rakesh Kumar, Jitender Singh and Fouaad Mirza
Men’s showjumping: Kaevaan Kevic Setalvad, Zahan Kevic Setalvad and Chetan Reddy Nukala