#NewsBytesExclusive: Equestrian Fouaad Mirza outlines his vision for Tokyo Olympics
In an exclusive interview with NewsBytes, Indian equestrian Fouaad Mirza revealed his plans for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Notably, Mirza is the first Indian equestrian to qualify for the Olympics in 19 years. However, the Asian Games double-silver medalist said he doesn't feel any added pressure as he is focused on his preparation. Here is how he is preparing for the mega carnival.
When asked about his plan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Mirza said: "I am extremely happy that I got selected for the Olympics. I have been training well for the upcoming Games. My vision is to compete and do well in the Games for my country." "Compared to the Asian Games, the Tokyo Olympics is two levels higher," the 28-year-old claimed.
The Tokyo 2020 event was earlier postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. "With the Olympics getting postponed to next year, we have got one more year to train, which is a huge benefit. At present, I get up at 7.00 AM in the morning and spend most of the time of the day on the craft. This is keeping me busy."
Fouaad won silver medals in both the individual eventing and the team eventing at the 2018 Asian Games. He also became the first Indian since 1982 to win a medal at an individual event in the sport at the Asian Games. Fouaad said it was a big moment for him and the success at Asian Games presented him with a lot of opportunities.
On his achievement, Fouaad said, "It was a big moment. The success there has got me forward and given a lot of opportunities. I am grateful for everyone involved, to the Embassy Group, the horses, vets, and the grooms who helped us."
In 2019, Fouaad bagged the prestigious Arjuna award and sealed the gold medal at the CCI3*-S event held in Strzegom, Poland. However, his horse Seigneur Medicott endured an injury. Looking back, Fouaad said it was a year filled with highs and lows.
"A big low was losing Seigneur Medicott due to an injury for that season. The highs were that the other horses, Fernhill Facetime, Touchingwood rose to the occasion and helped us qualify for Tokyo," said Fouaad. He continued, "Another high and low was the new horse Dajara won the last competition with me and before the end of the year we had a fall."
Fouaad said his top horse Seigneur Medicott will take time to recover fully. "Seigneur Medicott has ligament injuries and will take time to recover fully. It could not qualify in the previous competition because of this. The break is good for Seigneur Medicott, which I rode to two silver medals in the 2018 Asian Games. I am hoping for its speedy recovery."
Fouaad trained in Germany during the lockdown phase amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "Currently I am in Bergedorf, a sparsely populated village in Hamburg, Germany, and have been training under Sandra Auffgarth since the start of the year. With less population in this part, social isolation is easy here. There is no change in our routine," he said.
On the 2020 Olympics, he said "I am not worried about what's happened in the past, what are the records, who did what, who I have to beat or any of that. Surely, I want to do well. With regards to it, there's a different way I see it, not in the aspect of being the first one in equestrian after 19 years."
"I am gearing up for the current event CCI 3* S competition that's going to be held between June 11-14 in Germany in a region called Oldenburg." Notably, this is the first international show to be held in this sport after the lockdown. About his preparations, Fouaad said, "I have always been training; my horses have not stopped training as well."
Fouaad also had a message for the readers of NewsBytes during this challenging period. "I hope everyone is safe and is taking the necessary safety precautions during this time. I think if anyone has the self-belief and commitment, it can make you do amazing things. You should always be a student of your craft. Strive to learn and achieve," he concluded.