CHENNAI: A ‘shit story’. That’s how Fouaad Mirza put it as his bid to qualify for the Games hit a pitstop at an event in Strzegom, Poland, on Saturday. He fell short of meeting his Minimum Eligibility Requirement (MER) even if India has won a quota place for Fouaad to be eligible to compete in Tokyo he has to meet his MER — after not completing one of the courses. He still has a few more shows to get it done. However, when speaking over phone from Poland, he sounded despondent.
‘This means I don’t get my qualification (yet),” he said. “It’s very upsetting, I still have a few more shows left where I can achieve this. Just upset that I haven’t able to get it done. A silly, stupid mistake and I think... yeah... one of those that can happen.”
What happened? “Dajara was very good in the cross country. But unfortunately, I had one stop in one of the last combinations on course. I don’t think it was a mistake of her’s. She locked on to a fence that wasn’t in her class, so she kind of wasn’t supposed to jump it but she locked on to it. I had to take her attention of that jump and tried to refocus her... it all happened so fast and she ended up not knowing where she was supposed to go and ended up having a stop.”
It was clear that the doubles Asian Games medallist had backed himself to get it done at the earliest after a tumultuous year that included multiple lockdowns in his base of Germany, cancelled events and more cancelled shows because of the spread of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) in February. “It sums up a shit story emotionally,” he said. “But that’s sport and at the moment with what is happening... also didn’t make life easy with Herpes (Virus), second wave, all sorts of things... but sure we will come back fighting in the next event.”
It’s possible he may not have Seigneur Medicott for his next event also as he is still recovering from an injury. “The ground was very deep and because he’s recovering from an injury, I don’t think it would have been wise, so we pulled him out. Not sure where the next show will be but we will take the horses back, regroup, replan and start again. That’s that.”