28-09-2023 05:28 PM | Source: IANS
Asian Games: Anush Agarwalla wins historic bronze in Dressage Individual; Hriday Chheda gets eliminated
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 Anush Agarwalla made history for India in the Asian Games equestrian championships on Thursday by winning the bronze medal in the Dressage Individual competition at the Tonglu Equestrian Centre in Hangzhou.

Agarwalla finished third atop his horse Etro as he finished with a 73.030 percentage score as he took the bronze medal behind Malaysia's Bin Mohammad FAthil Mohd Qabil Ambak who topped the standings with a 75.780 percentage score while Hong Kong China's Jacqueline Wing Ying Siu claimed the silver medal with 73.450 percentage score in Intermediate I Freestyle competition.

Anush Agarwalla thus became the first Indian to win an Individual medal in dressage in Asian Games. All of India's medals before Hangzhou came in Eventing, show jumping and tent pegging. But on Thursday, Anush Agarwalla added the Dressage Individual bronze to the gold medal that he along with Hriday Chheta, Sudipti Hajela and Divyakriti Singh bagged in the Dressage Team competition a couple of days ago.

India was unlucky to miss a gold medal in this event as Chheda was eliminated from the competition on Thursday.

Chheda, who qualified third after the Dressage Individual Prix St-Georges and was leading after the Intermediate I stage, was Eliminated on Thursday and missed out on a chance of winning a medal. While Chheda was in the lead going into the final day, Mohd Qabil was second and Hong Kong's Jacqueline Sui was placed third with Anush Agarwalla in fourth position.

Hriday got eliminated as his horse Chemxpro Emerald refused to get into the arena for Thursday's routine and when he was forced in, he got injured and his left fore leg showed some blood on it. "As per the rules of equestrian competitions, if there is blood on the body of the horse, it means direct elimination and it was unfortunate that Hriday Chheda, who was doing so well, had to face this situation," said a source close to the Indian dressage team.

But once Hriday got eliminated on Thursday, the rest finished in the same order with Anush moving up to third position.

"The feeling is really unreal. I still don't feel that I won the bronze. After winning the Team gold already, I knew that it would be good. I knew that I had a good partnership with my horse, and when I woke up in the morning, I knew it would be good. I even texted my mother, 'Mom, today we will get something, I know today we will be good'. My horse was amazing," said Anush Agarwalla after winning the medal.

"I am so, so happy. It's been a long, long journey, a very, very difficult one. A lot of times I thought 'OK I am not good enough'. But holding this medal is worth it. I am just very happy at how it all went," said Agarwalla.

Agarwalla had to face some anxious moments as the last rider went in for the final routine. But then things fell in place and the bronze medal was his.

"When the last rider went in, I knew I was third and those six-seven minutes until his results came out felt like six years. I could not breathe, I was nervous. I was more nervous during this period than the past few days. It was all so amazing. I thank him and all my other medal winners for great sportsmanship. It's been a tough battle and interesting battle, one that I will always remember," said Agarwalla.

Talking about Hriday's elimination on the final day, Agarwalla said, "It's a great pity. He is a great competitor but it is part and parcel of the sport. We rise and we fall together. But I am really, really proud of him. On the first day, how he managed (his horse) he is still an Asian Games gold-winning champion. That's not something many people can do. On top of that, he was also winning the test yesterday, so that shows that he is good enough. He just had bad luck today," said Agarwalla.