India's equestrian star Fouaad Mirza able to continue Olympic preparation
Indian equestrian star Fouaad Mirza confirmed his place at the Tokyo Olympics at the start of the year and while the majority of athletes’ preparations have been hampered, Mirza’s regular training has not been halted.
“I begin training early in the morning and continue till 6 or 6.30 in the evening. I then go check on the horses later at night,” the Indian equestrian told Tokyo2020.org. “I’m lucky in the sense that I live only 30 metres away from the stables, so I’m able to continue my routines.”
Fouaad Mirza had been training in Bergedorf, Germany when sporting activities were called to a halt and lockdowns enforced across the world. He is still based there, and the city he resides is at the opposite end of where most coronavirus cases in Germany have been reported.
“I live in the north-western part of the country whereas the cases have been on the rise in the southern parts,” he added. “Anyway, the city I live in does not have a large population, so social distancing is not a new thing for us.”
Future of equestrian in India
Fouaad Mirza is the first Indian equestrian to make the Olympic cut in 20 years, with the last representative from the nation being Imtiaz Anees at Sydney 2000.
The Bengaluru native was introduced to horses at an early age because his father is a renowned horse veterinarian and decided to take up the sport after watching videos of equestrian legend Mark Todd.
He rose to fame with two silver medals at the Asian Games in 2018 and was also given the Arjuna Award the following year, and his Tokyo Olympics qualification has only added to his reputation.
So, what advice would he give to aspiring Indian equestrians? “I would tell them to keep going. The game is not easy but it's definitely gathering some steam in India,” he said.
“All I can say is - do not harbour any doubts in your mind about whether it is worth giving it a go, the future is going to be great.”