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Published: Saturday December 14, 2013 MYT 1:30:00 PM
Updated: Saturday December 14, 2013 MYT 7:24:18 PM

Praveen gifts surprise gold from equestrian dressage (updated)

Praveen Nair with Sein Win Mai, the horse that helped him win the dressage event in equestrian at the SEA Games on Dec 14, 2013. - KAMARUL ARIFFIN / The Star

Praveen Nair with Sein Win Mai, the horse that helped him win the dressage event in equestrian at the SEA Games on Dec 14, 2013. - KAMARUL ARIFFIN / The Star

NAYPYITAW: It was just a brief courtship but it was love at first sight for Praveen Nair Mathavan and Sein Win Mai.

SEA Games debutant Praveen, riding on local horse Sein Win Mai, delivered a surprise gold for Malaysia in winning the equestrian individual dressage competition in Naypyitaw on Saturday.

The participants are unable to bring their own horses due to quarantine restrictions in Myanmar.

But that was not a problem for the 16-year-old who managed to get acquainted at the right time despite having only one hour to get used to the local horse.

Praveen amassed a total of 67.405 points to finish ahead of Indonesian Valentino Lumentah (66.432) and Ferry Wahyu Hadiyanto (64.108) in the 12-rider final.

Another Malaysian qualifier Shoorendran Nageswaran finished fifth (59.945).

Indonesia claimed the team gold medal on Friday while Malaysia only managed fourth but Praveen rose to the occasion at the ideal time.

”I think it was not the perfect ride as I did have two small mistakes in the routine.

”I was expecting to get a medal as I was the second best rider after the team competition (where scores are used to determine the top 12 qualifiers for the final).

”Anyway, I thought the Indonesians would be hard to beat.

”I am proud to contribute a gold to the country in my first SEA Games competition,” said Praveen, who has now followed in the footsteps of the illustrious Qabil Ambak, a multiple gold medallist in the sport at SEA Games and Asian Games level.

Praveen, who resides in Kajang, picked up the sport when he was 10 and is now training under Chris Ladbrook.

”I am now attached with the Uniten Equestrian Centre. My parents encouraged me to pick up a sport outside school.

”I picked up riding fast and have not stopped since then as I enjoy it.

”I think that’s why I was able to adapt myself to the local horse quickly although I only got to ride it twice in one hour before the team competition started,” said the articulate student of Nexus International School.

The Malaysian equestrian team came here with no gold medal target but they have delivered three now.

Mohd Sulaiman Muda won the individual 80m endurance ride and he also earned a second gold in the team event as well.

Malaysia will be hoping to shine as well in the showjumping competition starting Sunday.  

Tags / Keywords: equestrian, SEA Games, Myanmar, Naypyitaw, Nyapidaw, Praveen Nair, Malaysia

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