India’s Equestrian Sensation: Meet Anush Agarwalla, the Trailblazing Rider

Anush Agarwalla was chosen over Shruti Vora after a thorough evaluation of their recent performances.
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Anush Agarwalla has been selected to represent India in the dressage event at the Paris Olympics, beating Shruti Vora based on superior performance averages, as announced by the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) on Tuesday.

Agarwalla, who secured a gold medal in team dressage and a bronze in individual dressage at the 2022 Asian Games, was chosen over Vora after a detailed assessment of their recent achievements.

This marks India’s first-ever participation in the dressage event at the Olympics, as previous editions only featured riders in eventing categories.

Agarwalla (with his horse Sir Caramello Old) consistently met the Minimum Eligibility Requirement four times since the qualification period commenced last year, while veteran Vora achieved the necessary two MERs this month.

Upon calculating the averages of the contenders, Agarwalla emerged as the victor with an average score of 67.695 percent, surpassing Vora’s 67.163 percent.

“According to EFI’s criteria, a rider-horse pairing must attain a minimum of 67 percent twice between January 1, 2023 and June 24, 2024 to qualify for the Paris Games,” the federation stated in a release.

“As per EFI’s selection criteria, if multiple athletes are eligible, the athlete with the highest average in Grand Prix out of the best four events in the past year will be selected to compete.”

Vora (with horse Magnanimous) achieved her second MER of the year with a second-place finish at the Brno Grand Prix in the Czech Republic, where she scored 68.174 in the dressage event, securing her place at the Olympics.

Vora obtained her first MER earlier in the month by becoming the first Indian rider to win a three-star Grand Prix event, the Dressage World Cup, held in Lipica, Slovenia, with a score of 67.761.

Agarwalla achieved MERs four times – 67.936 percent (Wiesbaden, May 2024), 68.261 percent (December 2023 in Mechelen), 67.152 percent (December 2023 in Frankfurt), and 67.804 percent (October 2023 in Wroclaw).

Fouaad Mirza represented India at the 2020 Tokyo Games, while Imtiaz Anees competed in the 2000 Sydney Games and Indrajit Lamba in the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Jitendrajit Singh Ahluwalia, Hussain Singh, Mohammed Khan, and Darya Singh all participated in the 1980 Moscow Games.

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