TOKYO: Singapore equestrian Caroline Chew was eliminated from the dressage qualifiers on Sunday (Jul 25) after her horse Tribiani was found to be bleeding from the mouth, bringing an abrupt end to the country’s first foray into the sport at the Olympics.
“It was a bit of a freak accident … He was feeling really good actually, presenting really well and then just caught his lip in the corner, I think. I didn’t feel it happen, but obviously the judge saw it,” Chew told reporters.
Chew was competing with her 17-year-old horse in the individual dressage event, also known as horse ballet, at the Tokyo Olympics.
She had earlier said that competing in the Games had been very unexpected after New Zealand withdrew from a qualifying event, clearing the way for her to represent Singapore.
A New Zealand rider withdrew at the last minute from the Dressage Grand Prix in Le Mans, France, in April. Chew’s score locked in a personal best of 69.674, which well surpassed the requirement of 66 for Olympics qualification.
“I would say (it’s) quite miraculous we got here anyway. It was great and I felt really humbled and privileged to be the first Singaporean at the Olympic Games for equestrian. It’s kind of a shame how it ended,” the 29-year-old full-time lawyer said.
In a statement on Sunday, the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) said Tribiani had been examined by a veterinarian who found “no further bleeding” apart from a cut on his lips.
Chew and Tribiani were eliminated after a judge stopped the horse to check for blood.
“Ms Francis Verbeek Van Rooij (President of Ground Jury) halted (Chew’s) ride to check and confirmed traces of blood (were) seen in Tribiani’s mouth,” said the SNOC.
This is in line with the rules, which state that a horse will be eliminated if it shows fresh blood, added the SNOC.
According to Chew’s LinkedIn page, she has represented Singapore at the Southeast Asian Games in 2007, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
The team and individual medals for dressage will be decided on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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