Malaysia continued to enjoy a high in the equestrian sports when they bagged the show jumping team gold medal at the 3Q Equestrian Centre in Rawang.
On Saturday, The team of Qabil Ambak Mahamad Fathil, Praveen Nair and the Ratnasingham siblings Sharmini Christina and Neelan Jonathan had to go through a jump-off to beat the Philippines and Thailand for the gold.
All three countries were tied after the completion of the first two rounds.
Malaysia rose to the occasion to perform a clean run in the jump-off and took a combined time of 123.58s to end the country’s 10-year wait for the team show jumping gold.
Yesterday’s gold was Malaysia’s fifth for equestrian sports in the KL SEA Games. They won two through the endurance races in Terengganu and won another two in dressage – the individual and team golds.
About the riders
YOUNG rider Pra-veen Nair’s horse was hurt at the Singapore Games in 2015.
Sharmini Christina Ratna-singham fell from her horse before the Kuala Lumpur Games.
But they put those “negative moments” behind them to help the national team, also comprising Qabil Ambak Mahamad Fathil and Neelan Jonathan Ratnasing-ham, clinch the gold in show jumping at the 3Q Equestrian Centre in Rawang.
The win, however, did not come easy for the Malaysians.
There were anxious moments when Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines were tied with four faults each after the two rounds of competition ended. They had to compete in a jump-off to determine the top three.
All the riders had to give it a go again and the Malaysians kept their cool for a faultless run in 123.58 seconds. The Philippines took silver and Thailand the bronze.
The 20-year-old Holland-based Praveen was happy that his mare Clearcut stayed the pace.
At Singapore 2015, he was forced to withdraw when his horse was injured.
“My horse has been superb. It just got better and better with every round. It’s a great comeback for us,” said Praveen.
“There was pressure to perform at home. We thought the Philippines had won and we were preparing for a jump-off for the silver and bronze when the last Filipino rider hit the pole.
“In the jump-off, it’s all about how fast you dare to go and leave all the poles intact. I decided to take a chance and went quite fast and it paid off,” added Praveen, who has been riding Clearcut for more than five years.
The 32-year-old Sharmini, who won the individual show jumping gold at Singapore 2015 astride Alcado L, was emotional.
“The standard is high this year and there are impressive riders, particularly from the Philippines. But we fought hard and I’m over the moon,” said Sharmini.
“I had a fall last year and underwent surgery on my knee. I was only able to ride in March. I didn’t have much time to prepare as I would have liked.
“But we have a fantastic team. It’s a team effort really. My horse is absolutely superb. Without him, it wouldn’t have been this easy to make a comeback.
“It’s memorable to win the gold with my brother Neelan, who is making his Games debut. I’m just so thankful to everyone, especially my family,” added Sharmini.
Malaysia have the chance to add another gold when their riders compete in the individual show jumping tomorrow.
Yesterday’s win was equestrian’s fifth gold for Malaysia at the Games, having won two in endurance and two in dressage.