Shruti Vora first Indian to win 3 star GP in dressage, closes in on Paris dream - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Shruti Vora first Indian to win 3 star GP in dressage, closes in on Paris dream

Jun 14, 2024 12:09 AM IST

Astride Magnanimous, Vora finished ahead of Moldova’s Tatiana Antonenco and Austria’s Juliane Jerich in Lipica, Slovenia

Shruti Vora has created history by becoming the first Indian to win a three-star Grand Prix equestrian event, achieving the feat when she won at the FEI Dressage World Cup held in Lipica, Slovenia.

Shruti Vora in action at the FEI Dressage World Cup in Slovenia(Getty)
Shruti Vora in action at the FEI Dressage World Cup in Slovenia(Getty)

Astride Magnanimous, Vora, 53, scored 67.761% in the highly technical discipline to earn her first Minimum Eligibility Requirement (MER) point for this year’s Paris Olympics.

So far, her compatriot Anush Agarwalla has been in line for a maiden Olympics berth in dressage. As per the qualification criterion, a rider-horse combination must have a minimum of two MERs to make it to the Games.

To be sure, Vora is the first to finish first at a Grand Prix-3, or CDI-3, in any equestrian event.

In dressage, star ratings are awarded on the basis of the difficulty and stature of the events. A five-star rated Grand Prix is considered the toughest in the sport.

Vora, who shifted base to Europe in May, finished ahead of Moldova’s Tatiana Antonenco, who scored 66.522% astride Aachen, and Austria’s Juliane Jerich who aggregated 66.087% on Quarter Girl, according to a release by the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) on Thursday.

“It is a big moment in my career and I’m a step closer to my Olympic dream. I hope to continue the momentum for the next three weeks,” said Vora, who will be competing twice before June 24, when the qualification window closes.

Agarwalla, who won a team gold in dressage as well as an individual bronze in the discipline at the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games, has three MERs to his name, but all his scores came last year. The 25-year-old from Kolkata scored 67.804% in October before logging 67.152% and 68.261% in December.

Vora is banking on her recent form to make the Olympics cut. “Me and Magnanimous have improved with every event. The kind of progress we have shown in just two months is commendable and bodes well for our chances,” she said from Achleiten in Austria where she will be competing on June 14. This will be followed by another competition in Czech Republic (June 20-23).

“I think the Equestrian Federation of India must look at the current form while picking the rider for the Olympics. You shouldn’t be picking someone on the basis of six-month old scores. Having said that, I would first like to earn the required MER before thinking that far,” she added.

Agarwalla, who is based in Germany, did not enter the Slovenia event and has also given the Austria a miss. The choice will eventually be down to EFI’s discretion and federation’s Secretary General Colonel Jaiveer Singh said they will pick the “best rider on view”.

“Winning a three-star GP is not easy, and the fact that Shruti is the first Indian to do that speaks volumes of her achievement. As for the Olympics, we will pick the best performing rider. We shall decide on that once she nails the remaining MER,” Jaiveer said.

A rider-horse combination must secure 67% to get an MER, as per International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) rules.

Based in the village of Timming in Germany’s Billerbeck municipality, Vora trains in the stables of London Olympics silver medallist Helen Langehanenberg. Jitendarjit Singh Ahluwalia, a 1986 Asiad bronze medallist in team dressage and Vora’s long-time coach, has been guiding the 12-year-old gelding. “I have been around Magnanimous since his birth, so the bond was always there. My coach has done wonders with the horse. It has the capacity to record scores in the range of 72%-73% and with a little more time, our results will improve,” said Vora, who finished third on Magnanimous (71.445%) at the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music competition in St. Margarethen, Austria earlier this month.

“Elite European riders usually score in the range of 72-73% and I believe Magnanimous has the potential to record those scores consistently. Even in Slovenia, we could have scored big but the lapses happened from my end. To build a relationship with a horse in two months is not easy but we are on the right track,” Vora said.

Catch all the Latest T20 World Cup 2024 news and Live Cricket Score along with T20 World Cup Schedule and T20 World Cup Points Table related updates on Hindustan Times Website and APPs
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, July 15, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On