Eventer Usman qualifies for Paris Olympics

By our correspondent
ISLAMABAD: Perseverance and steely resolve once again paid dividends as the country’s premier eventer Usman Khan on Sunday qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Usman achieved the milestone in the FEI four-star event in Mallow, Ireland, on Sunday.
“By the grace of God Almighty Pakistan has secured the Paris Olympic Qualification in Mallow, Ireland,” Usman told this correspondent from Ireland.
The outcome came following a two-year hard labour. After fate denied him an opportunity to feature in the Tokyo Olympics despite qualification Usman did not lose heart. He took time in recovery from a fatal accident he had met with just before the finish-line at the Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers in May 2021 in Australia and began his quest for another milestone almost two years ago. And it was the soil of Ireland which this time proved lucky for the star equestrian where he earned Paris Olympics qualification.
“I worked extremely hard for achieving this milestone,” Usman told this correspondent.
“Unlike the Tokyo Olympics this time my Olympics berth quest was characterized by solid approach, the experience I had of playing at such a high level, quality coaching team, and, no doubt, my horse which is the integral part of the whole journey,” Usman said.
“Our trainers Pierre DeFrance and Aurelie Riedweg have worked tirelessly for the last one a half years. We have continued with hard work and qualifying rounds in silence,” Usman revealed.
“Now when we are in the Olympics, Pakistan can celebrate another Olympic Qualification. With 12 months to go we need more prayers of the nation,” Usman said.
Usman will now have to compete at the four-star level for the coming one year and will need to maintain his standing.
Pakistan is the first nation in Group F which qualified for the Olympics.
Usman has been in Europe for the last couple of years.
As per Olympics qualification rules a four-star long MER is needed for the Olympics together with four-star short format MER and three-star long format MER.
“We have secured them by the grace of Allah,” Usman said.
This is not the first time that Usman catapulted himself into the Olympics.
In 2019 Usman had become the first equestrian of Pakistan in the equestrian history to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021 after a year delay due to Covid-19.
But unfortunately Usman’s horse Azad Kashmir died in September 2020. It meant Usman had to revise his qualification with his new horse Kasheer.
But again it did not happen. The duo met with a fatal accident just before the finish-line in the Olympics Qualifiers in Australia which resulted in the death of Kasheer. Usman also sustained serious injuries and was shifted to hospital. He took months before getting recovered.
“Those were hard days,” Usman recalled. “It was extremely difficult to recompose myself but God helped me and now again we are in the world’s major event,” Usman said.
“The job is not yet done. We will need to work harder as we will have to compete with major nations of the four-star level during the next one year,” Usman said.
Had Usman and Kasheer not met with that serious accident they could have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
This correspondent has learnt that Usman is managing huge expenses of his Europe’s stay, coaching facilities he avails and horse expenses also including its transportation to off-shore venues which costs him thousands of Euros.
Usman had also qualified for the 19th Asian Games slated to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8 but surprisingly his name is not in the national contingent’s list which has been leaked by the authorities to a section of the media a few days ago.

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