Hangzhou, Sept 28 (PTI): Anush Agarwalla won India’s first-ever individual medal in the in the dressage competition of the equestrian event 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 has 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.
“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.”
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 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.”