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Monday May 13, 2013
By ASHREENA PILLAI
KUALA LUMPUR: Praveen Nair inched closer towards qualifying for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) with another faultless performance at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort.
Praveen, riding his Irish mare Clearcut, picked up exactly from where they left off on Saturday with another clean performance on the final day of the Youth Olympic Jumping Qualifiers and FEI World Jumping Challenge 2013 yesterday.
The 16-year-old took top spot in Category A with a clean run in competitions one and two with a time of 61.47s and 67.70s respectively for a combined total of 129.07s.
Nabil Ismail and his horse Donna Ed Hordy accumulated five faults to finish second in 139.24s while Andika Jamaluddin, astride Wachinta, finished third with 12 faults in 147.12s.
“It would mean the world to me to qualify for the YOG as I believe no Malaysian has ever done so.
“It would be a real achievement to represent the country at the Youth Olympics,” said Praveen, who got his start in the sport at the age of 10 after following a bunch of his friends to a horse riding school in Taman Equine.
The young rider has only been with Clearcut for eight months, but the two seem to have forged a wonderful partnership.
“We got her from Ireland in September last year and we took to each other quite easily,” said Praveen.
“She’s a really smart girl, very sharp and very quick ... but sometimes a little too smart for herself!”
The ambitious 16-year-old, who hopes to emulate the career of German Olympic show jumping champion Marcus Ehning, is also looking to win a place at this year’s SEA Games and the 2014 Asian Games.
To qualify for the YOG (Category A), a rider cannot accumulate more than eight faults during competition.
And with clear rounds on both days Praveen, who posted times of 67.56s and 61.47s on Saturday – looks to have passed the test with flying colours.
However, he will have to wait with bated breath until November to find out if he makes the cut to be among the top 40 riders to compete at the YOG, which will be held in Nanjing, China, next year.
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