Determined Mirza takes a big stride

Bengaluru's Fouaad Mirza took a big stride in his career when he claimed a first and a second place in the CCI 1* equestrian event in his first attempt at the trials for the Asian Games at Montelibretti in Italy recently.

The 25-year-old, representing Equs India team, took the first place riding a German horse Seigneur Medicott and bagged the second spot with Cocky Locky, making him the only rider from India to finish first and second in the same event.

Delighted with their ward's performance, the Embassy International Riding School (EIRS) founder and chairman of Embassy Group Jitu Virwani said, "It is an absolute privilege to have been able to support a fine rider like Fouaad Mirza, who has made us very proud. Fouaad was way ahead of whoever came third over there."

A rider is required to compete at five CCI 1* trials either in India or overseas to earn a place in the Indian team for Eventing at the Asian Games. The Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) then takes the three best results for selecting the team.

The next trials will be in Le Pouget, France, between November 11 and 16.

Fouaad is currently training in Wahendorf (in Germany) under Bettina Hoy, an Olympic-level equestrian rider who competes in Eventing competitions.

Speaking a press conference, Virwani felt an Asian Games medal could give a thrust to the sport. "We started this in 2010 and we are still at it. The idea is to bring up the sport in the country. If one of these kids get a medal in the Asian Games then the entire outlook will change," he said.

The EIRS has already started to lay 'footing' -- a suitable surface for the horses to gallop -- in their arena to meet the international standards. The work is expected to finish in the next few days. The EIRS will host the grand finale of the eighth edition of Equestrian Premier League on November 25 and 26.

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