Equestrian: Will Delatio be trotting at the Tokyo Olympics?

KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — It’s true what they say, to ride a horse is to ride the sky.

For the past two years, Delatio has been by national equestrian ace Mohd Qabil Ambak Mahamad Fathil’s side, come rain or shine.

The 41-year old rider touted the 700kg stallion as one of the best horses he has ever ridden in his career thus far.

With Delatio majestically trotting in the show ring, Qabil Ambak proudly finished second and third in the 2019 FEI (International Equestrian Federation) Dressage World Cup held in Minsk, Belarus and Kharkiv, Ukraine, respectively.

But the duo still have unfinished business, as they are set to charm judges at the Tokyo Olympics next month.

“Delatio is now 17 years old and at the peak of his career, this would be the first and last Olympics for him. He is one of the best horses in Europe and has a lot of experiences competing before,” the 2018 Asian Games silver medallist told Bernama when contacted recently.

According to the FEI official website, FEI.org, the black horse had accompanied British rider, Emile Faurie and Swedish Patrick Kittel before, whereby his best achievement was during the 2017 World Cup qualifiers in London that saw Faurie and Delatio finishing second, scoring above 80 per cent for the first time with 80.405%.

Asked on his Tokyo Olympics preparation, Qabil Ambak said it was still too early to set a target as he wanted to focus on earning his spot first before making a debut in the world’s biggest sporting event.

The Kuala Lumpur-born rider is now hoping that he would get a certificate of capability and score at least 66 per cent in the CDI (International Dressage) event in Le Mans, France from June 19-21.

Doing that he can create history as the first Malaysian to compete in the equestrian event at the Olympic Games.

Qabil Ambak has been named as the replacement in the dressage event by FEI after one of the two riders who had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics via Group G of the qualifying tournament for the Southeast Asia and Oceania zone in 2019 withdrew recently.

Tokyo Olympic Games is slated to be held from July 23-Aug 8. — Bernama