Hangzhou: India made history in the Asian Games equestrian competitions, winning a gold medal in Dressage Prix St-Georges after a gap of four decades when the quartet of Sudipti Hajela, Divyakriti Singh, Hriday Chheda and Anush Agarwalla won the Team competition here on Tuesday.
The Indian team of Sudipti (up on Chinski), Divyakriti (Adrenalin Firfod), Hriday (Chemxpro Emerald) and Anush (on Etro) scored 209.206 percentage points to finish ahead of hosts China, who scored 204.882. Hong Kong China won the bronze medal with a score of 204.852.
This is India’s second medal in Team Dressage event in the Asian Games after the bronze won by the team of Jitendarjit Singh Ahluwalia, Ghulam Mohammed Khan and Raghubir Singh when the sport made its debut in the 1982 edition held in New Delhi. India’s all three gold medals came in the 1982 Asian Games in Individual Eventing, Team Eventing and Individual Tent Pegging, which has never been held since 1982.
Before Hangzhou, India had won 3 gold, 3 silver and 6 bronze medals in the Asian Games. In 2018, India won two silver medals in equestrian, both coming in Eventing with Fouaad Mirza finishing second in the Individual competition and then partnering Rakesh Kumar, Ashish Malik and Jitender Singh to silver in the Team event.
But the young combination of Sudipti Hajela, Divyakriti Singh, Hriday Chheda and Anush Agarwalla overcame all hurdles on Tuesday to make a historic achievement for Indian equestrian at Hangzhou.
In Dressage, the competition is to judge the coordination between the rider and the horse as they perform a series of predetermined movements, known as ‘figures’ or “movements” in an arena of either 20×60 metres. In all competitions, the horse has to show the three paces: walk, trot and canter as well as smooth transitions within and between 12 lettered markers placed symmetrically in the arena.
On Tuesday, the Indian riders and their horses performed this set of movements with the least number of penalty points, thus winning the gold medal.
Sudipti claimed a total score of 66.706, Divyakriti got 68.176, Hriday bagged 69.941 and Anush had a score of 71.088 as they finished ahead of the Chinese competitors to claim the top spot.