Fouaad Mirza eyes Olympic qualification

Winner of individual and team silver medals in the last Asian Games, Mirza is in New Delhi to receive the Arjuna Award on Thursday.

Fouaad Mirza trains under German coach, Olympic bronze medallist Bettina Hoy at Warendorf, Germany.   -  Special arrangement

Riding on optimism, Fouaad Mirza is looking beyond the injury to his preferred mount and preparing two other horses to help him qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Winner of individual and team silver medals in the last Asian Games, Mirza is in the Capital to receive the Arjuna Award on Thursday.

Talking about Olympic qualification in the background of the setback received following a ligament injury to his silver medal-winning horse, Seigneur Medicott, Mirza revealed, “Though I remained driven, I lost motivation when Medicott was injured. But I had no choice. Since I still have some time, I am training systematically with the other two horses, Fernhill Facetime and Touchingwood. I hope to make it.”

Mirza, 27, trains under German coach, Olympic bronze medallist Bettina Hoy at Warendorf, Germany.

Talking about the Olympic field of about 65, Mirza said, “I think finishing in the top-20 would be a great achievement. We will have the best of riders on the best of mounts in the world. I hope things go as per plans and we don’t have injury issues.”

Mirza is also the first civilian to be nominated for the Arjuna Award. Feeling humbled by the honour bestowed, Mirza said, “Arjuna award means the world to me. In fact, it means more to equestrian in the country.”

Mirza said he was not sure how he would celebrate the honour since he was due to travel the following day to his training base in Germany.

He is scheduled to take part in an event in Poland next week. “From now, my aim is to collect points each time I participate so that I qualify for Tokyo Olympics by the cut-off date (of December 31, 2019),” said Mirza who plans to take part in at least five disciplines in the remainder of the year.