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Azad Kashmir takes Pakistan to Olympics

Azad Kashmir takes Pakistan to Olympics

The Bridge Desk

Published: 11 Dec 2019 5:22 AM GMT

Professional jockey Usman Khan on Tuesday qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 in the equestrian eventing category. Usman secured his position in the 2020 Summer Olympics after achieving the required qualifying points when he, with his horse named Azad Kashmir, won a competition in Australia. The news was confirmed by Pakistan Olympics Association (POA) Secretary-General Khalid Mehmood.

Pakistan’s Usman Khan has been based in Australia for 15 years and during this period he has taken part in events large and small around Victoria, where he is based out of.

Usman had hoped to qualify with his grey mare Al Buraq but, horses being horses, things went awry early in 2019 and Usman had to find another horse and start again. The 12-year-old bay gelding Azad Kashmir was previously competed by Belinda Isbister in Western Australia but Usman bought him in early 2019, took over the ride and had his first start in competition at Camper down in April where they finished sixth in the CCI2*-S on their dressage score.

Usman and Azad Kashmir completed the CCI4*-L at Wallaby Hill last weekend; they started with a good dressage score of 35.10, added just 2.8-time penalties on Mike Etherington-Smith’s cross country course to be in ninth place and, although they picked up 16 jumping penalties on the last day to drop to 13th, this was good enough to earn their MER and achieve Tokyo 2020 qualification – a huge achievement for Usman and Pakistan.

It is noteworthy that Usman is the only Pakistani athlete to have qualified in the eventing category. Earlier, four other Pakistani athletes also qualified for the Olympics: Arshad Nadeem achieved a spot in athletics, whereas Muhammad Khalil, Ghulam Mustafa Bashir, and Gulfam Jospeh qualified for the shooting category.

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