Korea Wins Team Dressage at Asian Games

They came, they rode and they conquered - for the third Asian Games in a row. "They" are Korea's equestrian dressage squad and this time they had the golden touch over seven Doha 2006 rivals at Doha Racing and Equestrian Club.
 
Winning by 65.777 points and never seriously challenged in the event, the team's victory gave Suh Jung Kyun of Korea, riding the huge grey stallion Caleostro, 11, his sixth gold medal in Asian Games dressage dating back to Seoul, 1986 - a record haul in the event.
 
Modestly, he said: "I only went for 70 percent of my horse's ability because I did it for the team. I really did not want to push my horse. Still, I was very concentrated. My horse was a little tired. It's because of the warmer weather which is different from Korea. There it is colder."
 
Suh's teammate Choi Jun Sang, partnered again with Dancing Boy II, now 10, was also on the gold-winning team at the 14th Asian Games Busan 2002 and now has three golds in total.
 
There was a dramatic finish in the battle for the silver medal when Malaysia, with 64.222 points, overtook Japan on 64.185. Until the fourth rider, Japan had felt they had the silver in the bag.
 
It is Malaysia's second silver and two members of the medal team from the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok are here in Doha - Mohd Qabil Mahamad Fathil and the horse Chagall Junior, both with different partners at their third Games.
 
Fathil said: "I received a score of 66 percent and I am very happy with my horse, who is fully recovered after suffering from travel sickness in the first days in Qatar. The collected trot and the half-pass were good. However, the walk-pirouette could have been smaller."
 
The 26-year-old Malaysian jumper Mohd Qabil Ambak Mahamad Fathil and Charming turned in a score of 66 percent and backed the good performance of his sister Quzandria Nur Mahamad Fathil (65. 278 percent). 
 
Quzandria rode with a sprained ankle and had to be pushed around in a wheelchair when not riding the chestnut gelding Havel. She could train for the first time only a day before the competition because of the injury suffered in Malaysia.
 
Yukiko Noge, a member of the bronze-medal winning Japan team, said of her horse Lanchester Kouko: "He was so concentrated, he is special. The canter was great today, and the pirouettes even more. After the second pirouette I felt so happy that I had to remember to concentrate on the rest."
 
The Hong Kong, China team, in their first Asian Games outing, finished fourth. After very cautious rides by their three riders, they never had a real chance to attack for a place on the podium. 



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