PETALING JAYA: It was a special Father’s Day for equestrian rider Qabil Ambak last Sunday. The seven-time Asian Games medal winner spent the day cradling his 15-day-old third child. Enzo Ambak, his first son, was born on June 5.
The birth of the son has only served to spur the 40-year-old Qabil on to continue riding, although he had considered quitting after the heartbreak of missing out on the Tokyo Olympics in January.
He was beaten by South Korea’s 2014 Asian Games gold medallist Young Shik-hwang to one of the two spots available 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 112nd with 844 points.
Now, though, Qabil wants his son to watch him in action on a horse, so any thought of retirement has to wait.
“I was really disappointed (at missing out on the Olympics) but after welcoming my first son, I am inspired to continue in equestrian and I hope he can see me on the podium.
“I want to continue training for the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou and, who knows, maybe I will try to keep it up until the 2024 Olympics in Paris,” said the determined Qabil, who has an enviable record of having made the podium in all five previous Asian Games outings.
On the name Enzo, Qabil explained that it was derived from the Japanese name Enso which means enlightenment.
“My grandma on my dad’s side is Japanese and I want to remember the Japanese side of the family,” said Qabil, who named his two older daughters Maiya and Rumi.
“I gave them unique names in the hope that they will become famous one day,” he laughed.
The Indonesian Asian Games silver medallist rider would have been even happier if he had not missed out on a few competitions after running foul of immigration laws.
Qabil was forced to cut short his stay in Europe after he was found to have overstayed his visa last August.
With help from the Malaysian authorities, he managed to get clearance from the Danish immigration to return but he missed the final qualifying meet in Belgium because the deadline for submission of entries was over.
“I gave my best shot to try and become the first Malaysian equestrian rider to compete at the Olympics, but it was not mine.
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