PETALING JAYA: Equestrian rider Qabil Ambak’s hopes of making it to the Tokyo Olympics are over.
Qabil fell short in his bid to become the first Malaysian rider to compete in the Olympic equestrian competition after he was beaten by South Korea’s 2014 Asian Games gold medallist Young Shik-hwang to one of the two spots at stake for Asia.
Qabil was ranked 169th with 769 points but the South Korean, who was ranked 126th with 828 points at the end of the qualifying campaign on Dec 31, clinched the second quota slot for Asia.
New Zealand’s Wendi Williamson got the other Asian ticket. She is ranked 112th with 844 points.
It has not been a good few months for Qabil.
The Indonesian Asian Games silver medallist rider ran foul of immigration laws and was forced to cut short his stay in Europe after he was found to have overstayed his visa last August.
The 40-year-old, who has been based in Europe since the start of last year, was deported but with help from the Malaysian authorities, Qabil managed to get clearance from the Danish immigration to return to pursue his Olympic dreams.
Unfortunately, Qabil had to miss the final qualifying meet in Belgium two weeks ago because the deadline for submission of entries was over.
“I knew the road to my Olympic dream had to end here as the final qualifying event was not accepting any more riders to qualify for the Games, ” he said.
Despite this, Qabil was not disappointed over the setback. He said he had given his best shot in his chase for the Olympic dream.
“No doubt, there were many challenges that we had to go through but we managed to reach the highest level of dressage to compete among the world’s best in a short period of time.
“The journey might be painful but the regret of not trying would have been worse, ” added Qabil, who plans to spend more time with his family before deciding on his next move.
“I’ve been away from my family for most of the year but they still strongly support me to achieve my dreams. I am grateful for this.”
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