Team China remains in the lead following the cross-country element of the Eventing competition at the Hangzhou Asian Games. China’s Alex Hua Tian leads the individual competition with 27, just 0.9 less than Thailand’s Korntawat Samran, who sits in second.
The Chinese Team, made up of Ruiji Liang, Yingfeng Bao, Huadong Sun, and Alex Hua Tian, put in a strong Dressage performance to give the team a score of 85.20, putting them firmly in the lead after the Dressage phase on September 30.
Following the cross country, just a few penalties were added to the team’s score with them finishing day two on 86.80. Bao, Sun, and Hua Tian remain on their Dressage scores as they approach the final Jumping phase on October 2 at Tonglu Equestrian Centre.
A new leader
Hua Tian takes the lead in the individual Eventing competition astride his 10-year-old stallion, Poseidons Admiral. He currently holds the 52nd position in the highly competitive FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings. His equestrian journey boasts an impressive resume, having graced prestigious events such as the FEI World Equestrian Games, the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, and Hong Kong, as well as the World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, among others.
Notably, Hua Tian’s talent shone brightly at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon and the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, where he clinched the Silver and Bronze medals, respectively, in the individual Eventing category. A familiar face on the European Eventing circuit, where he has navigated the challenges of CCI5*-L competitions, he lives and trains in the picturesque Cheshire, UK.
Hot on the heels of Hua Tian from an individual point of view is Thai rider Korntawat Samran with Billy Elmy on 27.90. Sitting at 186th in the FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings, Samran has a lot of experience at this level. This is his second Asian Games with Thailand winning bronze in the team Eventing in the previous Games in 2018 (Jakarta-Palembang) with Samran as part of the team.
Sitting in third in the individual competition is Hong Kong’s Annie Ho with Jockey Club Miss Matana on 28.30. Ho was also part of Hong Kong’s Dressage team that took bronze at Hangzhou a few days ago. Ho was part of the 2010 (Guangzhou), 2014 (Incheon), and 2018 (Jakarta-Palembang) Asian Games. Team Hong Kong took bronze at the 2014 games with Ho on the team.
Team India is out
Moving over to the team event, China leads on 86.80 with 2018 team winners Japan (Kenta Hiranaga, Kazuhiro Yoshizawa, Yusuke Nakajima, and Shoto Kusumoto) on 92.70 and Thailand (Supap Khaw-Ngam, Weerapat Pitakanonda, Preecha Khunjan, and Kornatawat Samran) on 93.90. Hong Kong currently sits in fourth. Due to an elimination, the Indian team is now unable to participate in the team competition.
12 athletes finish on Dressage scores
The cross-country course at Hangzhou, designed by Germany’s Christian Zehe, is 4010 metres long with the time allowed being 7 minutes and 43 seconds. The course requires 30 efforts to complete the 22 fences and combinations. Two riders were eliminated: Japan’s Kenta Hiranaga with Duke of Sussex due to three refusals, and overnight Dressage leaders Ashish Vivek Limaye with Willy Be Done. Seven other athletes picked up penalties during the cross-country phase and five of these gained time penalties. Twelve athletes finished on their Dressage score as they move to the last day of the competition.
by Rhea Freeman