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Thailand’s Home Glory

Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea each won gold in the first-ever FEI Asia Championships…

Asia’s equestrian champions have been crowned after a thrilling week of competition in Thailand. The inaugural FEI Asia Championships 2019 saw Dressage, Eventing and Jumping athletes from across the region win medals and entertain crowds. Thailand enjoyed a fabulous few days in front of their home fans by securing Team gold in both Dressage and Eventing, with Arinadtha Chavatanont winning three gold medals. Stars from Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea also stood on top of the podium.

Dressage

The week in Pattaya started in fine style for the hosts as they secured the first ever gold medal in the new FEI Asian Championships. Team members Pakjira Thongpakdi, HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya, Arinadtha Chavatanont and Apisada Bannagijsophon helped Thailand to first place, with Chavatanont the stand-out performer. Chinese Taipei and Indonesia came home in second and third place respectively.

Germany-based South Korean athlete Dongheon Nam became the first-ever FEI Asia Championships individual champion when he took gold in the Dressage competition.

Nam, who had been the top-scorer in the Team competition, finished first on First Edition with a score of 68.353%. That was just enough to finish ahead of Thailand’s Pakjira Thongpakdi while Indonesia’s Larasati Gading came third. Chinese young star Sarah Rao was fourth while Thailand’s Princess HRH Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya with her Prince Charming took fifth.

Nam and First Edition completed the double when they added Individual Freestyle gold with an immense score of 73.919.

Thailand’s Pakjira Thongpakdi made it a second silver to add to Team gold with 70.663%, while compatriot Arinadtha Chavatanont was just behind in third.

Eventing

There was further glory for Thailand’s Arinadtha Chavatanont in Eventing as she won Individual and Team gold on Tzar Of Her Dreams. Chavatanont claimed Individual Gold after a marvellous clear round and finish on her Dressage score at 31.8 penalties. Hong Kong’s Patrick Lam took silver and Thailand’s Korntawat Samran won bronze.

Weerapat Pitakanonda, Korntawat Samran and Preecha Khunjan joined Chavatanont on top of the podium in the Team competition. Hong Kong finished second thanks to Yu Xuan Su, Annie Ho, Thomas Heffernan Ho and Patrick Lam.

Jumping

The week concluded with the Jumping events where Hong Kong secured Team gold and Japan’s Taizo Sugitani won the Individual competition. The Team competition took place over three days of competition with Hong Kong, South Korea, Kuwait, Philippines, Thailand and Uzbekistan vying for glory. Hong Kong jumped consistently well over the three days, with their zero penalties on day 2 a particular highlight. Kenneth Cheng, Patrick Lam, Raena Leung and Jacqueline Lai were the athletes that secured first place. It was a real battle for second place with the Philippines eventually winning the silver medal ahead of Kuwait by just 0.21 penalties. The top 25 competitors proceeded to

Sunday’s Individual competition, with Japan’s Taizo Sugitani, China’s Ella Wang and Hong Kong’s Kenneth Cheng leading the way. Six-time Olympian Sugitani, on Heroine de Muze, maintained his supremacy by winning the first ever Individual Jumping gold in the FEI Asia Championships. Hong Kong’s Cheng moved up to the silver medal while fellow Hong Kong athlete Raena Leung just pipped China’s Wang for bronze. You can watch Sugitani’s glorious win and re-live all the other magic moments from the FEI Asia Championships 2019 on YouTube…

Photo: Yong Tek Lim

Original article: https://www.fei.org/stories/fei-asia-championships-pattaya-thailand-2019