NANJING: Nothing less than a clear round could have brightened the chances for a medal for Qatari rider Hamad Al Qadi in the equestrian individual event in the second Youth Olympic Games.
With nine riders tied at the top after the first round, the pressure had started to build at the Xinzhuang Equestrian Centre yesterday when the second round got under way.
All the riders before Qadi had already suffered the penalties and a couple got eliminated.
The atmosphere was more stifling for the young Qatari, who failed to clear the middle one in a triple combination and tipped the last hurdle as well.
With overall 12 penalty points over the two days of competition, he finished in a 10th best four-rider group.
Female riders outsmarted the male counterparts, winning two of the three medals. Emily Frazer, riding Exilio, clinched the jump-off after four riders had a zero penalty today and were locked at the top.
The silver medal was bagged by Argentine Martina Camp and Australian Jake Hunter edged El Salvador’s Sabrina Rivera Meza for the bronze medal in an exciting finale.
If Qadi had managed a clear round today, he might have got a spot among the best five in the world. But penalty points and ‘lack of luck’ denied him that opportunity.
“First of all, I want Thank God that I was able to be a part of the Youth Olympic Games for Qatar. Today I had needed a lot of luck as there were a plenty of riders with a medal chance after the first round.
“I had four penalty points on Saturday and the priority was to have no faults today. But after three rounds of team and individual events and many practice sessions, all the horses were sort of dead. Mine had more problems than others as I feel he was not fully ready for the competition.
“As I said, I had badly needed the luck but it was not to be. I hit two hurdles and I could get the 10th place only. With some better fortunes, I might have gone up the order.
His coach Ian Kerr sounded happy with Qadi’s show.
“It is a big competition. It was a very good experience for him. He did a very good job at the end of the day.
“He could have got a better position yesterday, having a fence down. The fences are there to be cleared. That is the name of the game.”
The Irish coach also noted if Qadi had some luck, he could have risen much higher in the final rankings. “To be honest, Hamad could have probably been among the best six if he jumped the double clear. The very first day when we rode the horse, I knew he was not 100 percent fit. We did not jump him too much before the team event.
“We tried to see how we can get the best out of him. Today at the cracking ring, he was not sparking. This was something we could not do anything about it. The horse was drained at the end. Hamad still did fantastic.
“There was a nice bunch of horses…some better than others. Our horse was a big mare. He lacked a bit of blood.”