In honour of a great rider

Korea's Hyung Chil Kim, a silver medallist at the Busan Asian Games, suffered a fatal fall while attempting to clear a hurdle during the cross-country individual eventing of the equestrian competition in Doha. The horse, Bundaberg Black, astride which he won the silver medal at the last Asian Games, fell on the 47-year-old Kim following an accident and crushed him to death.

A thorough investigation revealed that neither the rain nor the wet underfoot conditions caused the accident.

"Obstacle �8' measured 1.08 metres and was one of the smallest on the course. It was a straightforward ascending fence built of solid material, which is normally considered non-problematic,'' explained Andy Griffiths, the technical delegate for eventing. "The horse approached the obstacle and essentially got too close to the jump before taking off, resulting in a somersault type of fall with the full weight of the horse landing on top of the rider on the other side of the fence. The rider was probably dead on impact. The horse sustained minor injuries. No blame can be assigned to any individual factor. This is just a tragic accident that happens in our sport from time to time,'' he said.

As a mark of respect to the Olympian who died in his fourth Asian Games, the captain of the Qatari Equestrian Endurance team, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad al Thani, suggested the erection of a monument.

"We would like to honour the achievement of Kim, an exceptional rider, by commissioning a monument in the Aspire zone. We hope that it will prove a fitting tribute to a wonderful athlete who so sadly passed away,'' said Ahmed al Khulaifi, the Deputy Director General of the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee.

KAMESH SRINIVASAN