AG2018: Team Singapore riders enjoy Asian Games outing
21 August 2018
The equestrian discipline of Dressage is described as a highly skilled form of riding and its presence in major Games dates back to the 1912 Olympics in Paris. More than a century later, it continues to enthrall those who understand the sport and intrigue those watching it for the first time.
Roshni Ranjani Pannirselvam and Dancing Boy. Photo: Sport Singapore
For the 2018 Asian Games, Team Singapore were represented by Roshni Ranjani Pannirselvam and Alla Poloumieva. And for two days at the Jakarta International Equestrian Park, the ladies put their respective horses Dancing Boy and Dornkaart through their paces, extracting disciplined performances with subtle nudges and firm urging in the Prix St-Georges and Intermediate I competitions routines.
Despite failing to advance to the finals in a highly-quality field which included several Olympians, both have come away from Jakarta inspired to do even better and compete at future major events.
Coincidentally, both Roshni and Alla started off in showjumping and have only moved into dressage in recent years.
For Roshni, who is an equine vet by profession, competing in these Asian Games has been a dream come true and the culmination of many years of hard work.
“I’ve ridden all my life but have put my heart and soul into this for the past five years,” said the 43-year-old.
“I bought Dancing Boy hoping to be able to compete at the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur but we didn’t know each other well enough to produce consistent performances, and failed to gain selection.
“Dressage is all about communication between rider and horse, where small hints will draw big reactions from the horse as though they’re dancing with you.
“So I’m especially excited to be at these Games with Dancing Boy, having attended other major equestrian events in my capacity as a vet.”
Alla Poloumieva and Dornkaart in action. Photo: Sport Singapore
As for Alla, it was a welcome return as a Team Singapore athlete having last competed in showjumping at the 2005 Manila SEA Games. And it was especially meaningful for her to be competing in Jakarta where she has been based for 10 years, running a family-owned private equestrian club.
“I really wanted to do this, it was like having two ‘home grounds’, representing my nation on what is now my home base,” she said. “I was really proud too seeing people’s reaction, those who know me were still surprised to see me competing here under the Singapore flag.”
Having scored 65.146 with Dornkaart in the Prix St-Georges yesterday (20 Aug), Alla followed up with a 61.499 in the Intermediate I to finish 24th.
“Having done dressage seriously for three years, I’m really happy to have received positive and encouraging feedback,” she said.
“I probably performed above expectations, given my background as a showjumper. We made a couple of mistakes today in Intermediate I or we could’ve finished higher.
“But overall I’m very happy, and I’ve a clear mission to continue training and riding at a level that warrants selection for future competitions.”
It is much the same the Roshni, who scored 64.382 in the Prix St-Georges and 62.764 in the Intermediate I to finish 23rd.
“I am a little disappointed to miss out on the finals as I had prepared a very nice routine with musical choreography which I didn’t get to perform. But this outing has been fulfilling and makes me want to do well in the next one as well,” she said.
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