After Germany became the first country to resume sports with the Bundesliga, one of Europe’s top football leagues, it will now host the return of equestrian as well where India’s Fouaad Mirza will compete.
Fouaad Mirza will be participating in his favoured eventing discipline at the CCI 3-star S competition, a three-day event scheduled to be held between June 11-14 in Oldenburg, Germany.
Despite sealing a Tokyo Olympic quota for the country in November last year, Fouaad Mirza must meet his remaining Minimum Eligibility Requirement (MER) in a CCI 4-star long format to further cement his spot at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Asian Games double-silver medallist has been away from his country during the lockdown to stay in Germany’s Bergedorf, where he continued training under coach Sandra Auffgarth.
And this competition will help him test waters after months of forced break.
“I had dropped the intensity a bit (during lockdown). But with this event coming up, I am slowly cranking it up,” Fouaad Mirza told the Indian Express.
“It will give me a sense of where I am in preparation, and a perspective of where my horses are,” he added.
The June event will be closely followed by the equestrian community and success there could see its gradual resumption over the next few months.
“If this show is successful and things work out well for the organising committee with regards to the whole pandemic, then they will get confidence to hold more and more shows and slowly open up the borders,” Mirza told Hindustan Times.
“This will allow us to compete abroad,” the 2019 Arjuna Awardee added.
Keeping horses on their feet
Fouaad Mirza will compete with horses Fernhill Facetime and the newly acquired Dajara 4, which had helped him win the Olympic quota earlier this year.
Having won two Asian Games medals with Seigneur Medicott, his primary choice horse was side-lined with a suspensory ligament injury last year. And having the Olympics this year might not have seen it return on time.
“If it (Olympics) was this year, it would have been too early for him to recover. But now that they are postponed till next year, he’s got a bit more time to rehab and recover,” said Fouaad Mirza.
However, residing in Bergedorf, which is at the opposite end of where most coronavirus cases in Germany have been, Fouaad Mirza didn’t have to stop training himself or his horses amidst the lockdown.
“With regards to preparing for it, I have always been training; my horses have not stopped training as well,” Mirza said.
“Surely, the intensity of training had decreased but when this competition came upon the horizon, we started to pick up the ante,” he added.