Thursday, Sep 20, 2018 | Last Update : 09:29 PM IST

A silver lining at the Asian Games

THE ASIAN AGE. | POOJA PRABBHAN
Published : Sep 3, 2018, 12:12 am IST
Updated : Sep 3, 2018, 12:12 am IST

Equestrian Fouaad Mirza, from Namma ooru, has made history by becoming the first Indian to win a medal.

Fouaad Mirza
 Fouaad Mirza

It was a Sunday to remember. On August 26,  Bengaluru boy and equestrian Fouaad Mirza made history by being the first Indian to clinch an individual silver medal at equestrian jumping at the Asian Games’18 in Jakarta. This feat, for the country, at the Asian Games comes after a gap of 36 years – with the last one being by Ghulam Mohammed Khan in the year 1982. Call it the perfect mix of sheer serendipity and absolute grit; the city boy is soaking up all the praise that’s coming his way, while he has his sights set on getting India qualified at the Olympics. In a chat he tells us more...

“I’m honestly relieved and glad that I have managed to deliver and do justice to those who have invested their time and faith in me,” begins Fouaad. He currently trains in Germany under former World Champion Bettina Hoy, but opines that the Bengaluru is one of the best in the country when it comes to offering a platform for fledgling equestrians. “As far as my knowledge goes, Bengaluru easily has the best infrastructure and training facilities to hone fresh talent. Four of of seven riders at the games had a Bengaluru background. I’m glad to be associated with the Embassy International Riding School, as the management has gone out of the way to offer support to me.”

The 26-year-old, who’s tryst with horse riding dates back to the age of five, when he casually took up the sport because of his background, believes the training came naturally to him. “The interest was always there as my family has been with horses for  seven generations. I have always been around horses my entire life. I must have been around five-years-old when I rode my first horse. For the parents that are looking to enroll their child into horse riding, it’s important that they start out at a very young age. This helps the children understand horses and build a relationship with them, which is the most important thing when it comes to horses. The bond helps you ‘ask’ of  the horse and not ‘tell’ the horse what to do because a horse is an intelligent animal and when the bond is strong, it works out to be a great partnership.” Some of the highlights include winning 31 Gold (eight National) 16 Silver (eight National) and 22 Bronze (eight National) medals between 2003 and 2013 among a host of others.

Outdoorsy by nature, Fouaad often indulges in other forms of sport too. “I love basketball, football and like most Indians, love cricket too! I barely get a lot of free-time, but whenever I do, I love indulging in some form of a sport. I love food, but considering how I need to be careful with my diet, I try to strike a balance. I would like to read, but it takes me ages to finish a book, so working on bettering my reading skills,” quips Fouaad, who aims to get the country qualified for Olympics in the next two years.

“I know it’s a long road ahead, but I have complete faith in my trainer, mentors and the horses I have in my stable so I’d believe that it’s a realistic goal,” he concludes. 

Tags: asian games 2018, fouaad mirza