close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
March 26, 2020

Olympics postponement to hit Pak athletes hard

Sports

March 26, 2020

KARACHI: The postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will have a great financial impact on the athletes who prepare through their own resources for the world’s biggest sports extravaganza.

Pakistan’s Australia-based horse-rider Usman Khan agrees. “You are right. It will have a huge impact,” Usman told ‘The News’ in a formal chat from Melbourne.

After 15 years of persistent struggle, Lahore-born Usman made Pakistan proud by qualifying for Tokyo Olympics in eventing category of equestrian.

Eventing is a combination of cross country, jumping and dressage. Eventing is often known as the triathlon of the equestrian world. It is a sport that tests both the horse and the rider in all aspects of horsemanship.

This is the first time that Pakistan will have a rider of equestrian in the world’s most prestigious extravaganza. In 2004 Athens Olympics, Pakistani rider Nadeem Noon had to feature on wildcard but he missed the event after his horse got injured.

At the Wallaby Hill in December 2019, Usman and his horse Azad Kashmir did well to complete the CCI4*-L, finishing 13th and that was enough to earn Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) and achieve Tokyo 2020 qualification. In qualifiers in September 2019, Usman ended 15th. In October 2019 at the Lynton Horse Trials in Goulburn the organising committee had agreed to run a CCI3*-L specifically for Usman and Azad Kashmir so that they could try and achieve an MER at this level, enabling them to compete at Wallaby Hill CCI4*-L.

Usman now will have to maintain his ranking until the end of qualifiers. About the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to postpone Olympics Usman said: “The reality is that IOC decision oscillated because of possible boycott from influentials NOCs, mostly top 20 nations from Rio Olympics medal tally. Obviously health is important and we have to be fair to the 43 percent athletes who have yet to qualify,” Usman said.

“Athletes who have not qualified will have more time to qualify and train. Athletes who have qualified will have more time to train. That’s why the rulebook says length of qualifying period is set and should be same for everyone to secure MER,” Usman said.

“Olympics might be 16 months away, but it will be interesting what FEI implements, basically Europe season doesn’t start till late March/April and MER deadline is June 1, 2020, which is approximately three months away only,” he said.

“Is FEI going to allow three month or 12 months to secure MER in lead up to rescheduled 2021 Olympics,” Usman questioned.

He said that the annual budget range of 140,000- 170,000 Australian dollars will be spent “so that Azad Kashmir is sound and we retain MER points. Horses will be in full-time work at any professional stable and fortunately we have those facilities,” Usman said.