Another steamy day in Singapore greeted competitors and spectators for round 1 of the Youth Olympic Games Individual Jumping Competition, with all the riders going back to zero scores for a brand new start after the Teams medal decider.
Singaporean precision meant that the first competitor from Chile rode into the arena today at exactly 9.30am, ready to jump the course presented by international Course Designer, John Vallance (AUS). The fences were a little higher and wider, with oxers looking squarer than those for the Team Competition. This is appropriate now that the horse and rider combinations have got to know each other better and should be able to handle the elevated degree of difficulty. Distances in the course were very even and fair with a flowing line. A triple combination was also included to test the riders.
There were nine clear rounds in today’s competition, with most of them being ridden very smoothly and effectively. Competitors who went clear were Marcelo Chirico (URU), Thomas McDermott (AUS), Mohamed Abdalla (EGY), Timur Patarov (KAZ), Dominique Shone (CAN), Guilherme Foroni (BRA), Samantha McIntosh (RSA), Wojciech Dahlke (POL) and Mario Gamboa (COL).
Abdurahman Al Marri (QAT) and Juan Diego Saenz Morel (GUA) also looked like going clear, but were out of luck at the last obstacle and had it down, putting them on four penalties each. There were six riders in total who finished today’s competition with four penalties. The obstacles that caused most trouble were fence 7, an oxer on a related distance from fence 6, which was often ridden too long, and fence 12, an airy vertical, standing on its own a long way from 11.
Carian Scudamore (GBR) and Valentina Isoardi (ITA) both had to sit out today’s competition as their horses were lame and had to be withdrawn in the interests of horse welfare. In keeping with the rules, there is no substitution of horses at this stage of the event. Although obviously disappointed that they would take no further part in the competition, the British and Italian riders both have a Youth Olympic team gold medal as a wonderful memento of their time in Singapore.
After today’s round, the medal positions are very open going into the highly anticipated final round on Tuesday, which will be the last equestrian competition for the Youth Olympic Games.
FEI Secretary General, Alex McLin:
“It’s wonderful to see how well the athletes have adapted to borrowed horses and the level of competition is exactly where it needs to be. The atmosphere here is great and the crowd are really getting behind the riders.”
Equestrian IOC Athlete Role Model, Lisen Bratt Fredricson (SWE):
“It’s really nice to see the horse and rider combinations improving every day. It was only natural that some of the riders were nervous. The pressure on them all was enormous, so this is great training for the future. With the international media, other riders and members of the IOC in the audience, it was a lot to cope with but they all did really well.”
Glen Haven Park Australia Official YOG Equestrian Trainer, Paula Hamood (AUS):
“I am so proud of the way the horses are going with their riders! I wouldn’t have done anything differently with their training. I feel a great sense of achievement, knowing that the dedication we put into choosing and educating these horses, has enabled young riders from all over the world to follow their Olympic dreams.”
YOG athlete, Mario Gamboa (COL):
“I was very very happy with our round today. It was an excellent course. It all felt good and I am looking forward to Tuesday.”
For daily updates on YOG equestrian competitors and events, visit the FEI website and click on the link to our new Youth Olympic Games blog.
Caption: Mohamed Abdalla (EGY) acknowledges the crowd’s support after jumping a clear with Buzzword in today’s individual competition for a share in the lead going into Tuesday’s Final. (Photo: IOC)