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EFI selects Anush Agarwalla as India's representative for Paris Olympics

New Delhi: The Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) has picked Anush Agarwalla to represent the country at the upcoming Paris Games in the dressage event after he pipped close contender Shruti Vora on a better average after a careful evaluation of the recent performances of the contenders.

It will be India's first-ever entry at the dressage event at the Olympics, as largely riders in past editions competed in event categories only.

Agarwalla has been consistent since the qualification period began last year and achieved the Minimum Eligibility Requirement four times, while veteran Shruti Vora earned the required two MERs this month.

When an average was taken out of the contenders in the assessment, Anush emerged as the winner. He had an average score of 67.695 per cent which was better than Shruti's 67.163 per cent.

As per the criteria set by the Federation, a rider-horse combination is required to achieve a minimum of 67 per cent twice between January 1, 2023 and June 24, 2024 to be eligible for the Paris Games qualification.

According to EFI selection criteria, if more than one athlete is eligible, then the athlete with the highest average in Grand Prix out of the best four events in the past one year shall be chosen to participate. Scores at only FEI level competitions 3* and above are counted. These scores have to be achieved at shows from 2023 to 2024 list of MER events.

Shruti (with horse Magnanimous) had earned her second MER of the year with her second-place finish at the Brno Grand Prix in the Czech Republic, where she scored 68.174 in the dressage event, thus becoming eligible for Olympic qualification.

Shruti had earned her first MER early this month when she became the first Indian rider to win a three-star Grand Prix event at the Dressage World Cup, held in Lipica, Sloevania with 67.761. Her other two GP performances had scores of 66.543 per cent and 66.174 per cent which were below MER level.

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

The decision was taken unanimously by the Executive Council and the President put his stamp on this decision.
Fouaad Mirza had represented India at the 2020 Tokyo Games. Before him, Imtiaz Anees competed in the 2000 Sydney Games while Indrajit Lamba took the field in the 1996 Atlanta Games. Jitendrajit Singh Ahluwalia, Hussain Singh, Mohammed Khan and Darya Singh had all competed at the 1980 Moscow Games. 

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