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Equestrian Anush Agarwalla Earns Historic Paris Olympics Quota In Dressage

In dressage events, the horse and rider perform a series of movements in an arena of 20m x 60m, bordered by a low rail. The horse must stay within the area while performing

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At the Hangzhou Asian Games, Anush Agarwalla rode Astride Etro and won a bronze medal for India. Photo: X (Anush Agarwalla)
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Come July 2024, an Indian equestrian will compete for the first time in the dressage event at the Olympic Games thanks to Anush Agarwalla's consistent performances in four Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) events -- Wroclaw, Poland (73.485%), Kronenberg, Netherlands (74.4%), Frankfurt, Germany (72.9%) and Mechelen, Belgium (74.2%). (More Sports News)

Seven Indian equestrians had previously competed at the Olympic Games, but all in eventing event -- Jitendrajit Singh Ahluwalia, Hussain Singh, Mohammed Khan and Darya Singh at the 1980 Moscow Games, Indrajit Lamba at Atlanta 1996, Imtiaaz Anees at Sydney 2000, and Fouaad Mirza at Tokyo 2020.

The FEI confirmed the quota place on Monday. The quota, however, belongs to the country, and the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI), will conduct a final trial to select the Indian entry for the Games. For the record, the quota obtained by Agarwalla was the 40th for India at the Paris Olympics.

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“I am very proud and grateful to have been successful for securing a berth for India at the Paris Olympic Games," Agarwalla said. "Competing in the Olympics has always been a childhood dream for me and I’m proud to be part of this historical moment for the nation."

Agarwalla, who won India’s first individual medal at the Asian Games in dressage, is almost certain to get the EFI nod. In Hangzhou, he rode Astride Etro during his bronze medal-winning run. But during the recent FEI events, the 24-year-old from Kolkata rode Sir Caramello Old.

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He was also part of the Indian team that clinched dressage gold at the Asian Games last year, breaking a 41-year-old jinx at the continental event.

“I will continue doing what I have always been doing: staying focused, being disciplined, working hard, setting goals and achieving them. I am confident that I will be selected to represent India at this prestigious stage,” Agarwalla added.

The Olympic teams are made of three athletes/riders, with all three also competing for individual medals. But nations (NOCs) without a team can be represented by a single athlete.

So, what is the dressage event?

In dressage events of equestrian, the horse and rider perform a series of predetermined movements in an arena of 20m x 60m, bordered by a low rail. The horse must stay within the area while performing. The arena has 12 markers placed symmetrically indicating where the movements are to start and where to end and also the area where the performers can change their pace.

Other equestrian events at the Paris 2024 Games will be eventing and jumping. Individual dressage competition is scheduled to start on July 30 and final on August 4. All the equestrian events will be held at the Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles), a former royal residence commissioned by King Louis XIV.

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