'Pride of Indian flag biggest motivation'- Dressage gold winning team
After a 41-year wait, Team India's Equestrian Team clinched a historic gold at the Asian Games, marking a promising future for Indian Equestrian sports.
The long-awaited dream of securing a gold medal in the dressage event at the 19th Asian Games became a reality for Team India after an astonishing 41 years.
The mixed Equestrian team comprising Anush Agarwalla, Hriday Chheda, Divyakriti Singh, and Sudipti Hajela achieved a memorable milestone that will be etched in the books of India's sporting history. With a total score of 209.205 points, they outshone strong opponents like hosts China (204.882 points) and Hong Kong (204.552 points), securing the coveted top spot on the podium.
The standout performance came from Anush Agarwalla, who embarked on his equestrian journey two decades ago. With a stellar score of 71.088, Anush propelled Team India from the third position to clinch gold.
The flag, the biggest motivation
Reflecting on this momentous achievement, the 23-year-old from Kolkata shared his emotions, saying, "When I was the last rider to go, and a few riders followed me, it finally dawned on us that Team India was on the verge of winning gold. It was an incredibly emotional moment, especially when the national anthem played, and everyone stood in solemn respect. There's no feeling quite like looking at our flag; it's the biggest of every athlete's dreams."
Sudipti Hajela, another integral member of the team finds it unbelievable that they have achieved it, "I believe that all our hard work paid off. When we stood on the podium, everything fell into place like pieces of a puzzle. India emerged victorious, and it was a monumental win after so many years. None of us could believe it at that moment, but we gave it our all. Seeing our flag fly high is the ultimate motivation."
Sacrifices and teamwork
Throughout the interview, the riders continually praised their teammates, referring to them as the "dream team." They expressed their happiness at sharing one of the most significant moments of their lives with these exceptional individuals.
Both Sudipti and Anush Aggarwala acknowledged the years of hard work and sacrifices made by their families to turn the improbable into reality. Anush says, "The journey hasn't been easy for any of us. We've toiled for many years, far from our families, in Europe. We've made substantial sacrifices, with all of us relocating at a young age."
Hajela adds to it, "I'm certain it took more than just a village to get us here. It's been a long and challenging journey, but every trip we took contributed to our success."
Their gratitude was palpable as they reflected on their journey. Anush emphasizes, "We're immensely grateful for this entire experience, for playing as a team. It truly was a collective effort. We've worked incredibly hard for this, and our families have sacrificed so much back home. It takes a village to reach this stage."
Hajela echoed the sentiment, "We owe a big thank you to our support system, including our horses who gave their all. We're here today with the gold thanks to everyone who supported us."