"The whole country is rooting for me" - Anush Agarwalla after securing India's first-ever dressage quota in equestrian for the Paris 2024 Olympics

Image Credits: @anushagarwalla on Instagram
Anush Agarwalla (Image Credits: @anushagarwalla on Instagram)

Anush Agarwalla expressed his happiness at being the first Indian dressage athlete at the Olympic Games. India's first Asian Games equestrian gold medalist since 1982, Agarwalla, attained qualification to the mega event after performing well in four International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) events.

Agarwalla, riding his horse, Sir Caramello Old, earned qualification on the basis of his performances in Poland (73.485%), the Netherlands (74.4%), Germany (72.9%), and Belgium (74.2%). His final chance to stake a claim for the Paris 2024 Olympics quota arrived in December 2023 at the Grand Prix in Mechelen, Belgium.

Due to his outstanding contribution, Agarwalla was honored with the prestigious Arjuna Award by the President of India in January 2024. Here's what Anush Agarwalla told FEI.org:

"I'm really proud to wear my country's colors. I know that when I'm riding, I'm not alone. The whole country is rooting for me."

Further, the 24-year-old praised his coach, Hubertus Schmidt (Athens 2004 Olympic champion) for motivating him to keep working hard and improve his performances.

“As much as he has taught me about training, he has taught me about life – how to go about success, and more importantly, how to go about failures," Agarwalla said.

Previously, seven Indian athletes have competed in equestrian at the Summer Olympics. Namely, they are Fouaad Mirza (Tokyo 2020), Imtiaaz Anees (Sydney 2000), Indrajit Lamba (Atlanta 1996), Jitendrajit Singh Ahluwalia, Hussain Singh, Mohammed Khan and Darya Singh (Moscow 1980).

"He is a very special one" - Anush Agarwalla opens up on his relationship with his horse

Anush Agarwalla takes care of his horses by cleaning them, tacking them up before the ride, grooming them and grazing them. According to him, this adds to the trust between him and the horse, enabling them to be at ease and perform well in challenging events.

Agarwalla intends to ride with his preferred partner, Sir Caramello, in the Paris 2024 Olympics, as he said:

"I’m so proud of him [Sir Caramello] and our journey together."
“He is a very special one to me. When I got him, we had a lot of failures - a lot of shows that did not go our way," he added. "But at the same time, through him, I really learned how to keep pushing hard no matter what happens at a show, no matter how it goes. Just focus on the training and the results will come sooner or later. I think our journey shows that."

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