Hong Kong equestrian team putting hardships over horses at National Games behind them

Team confident of returning stronger for Asian Games in Indonesia next year after unforeseen issues contribute to disappointing campaign

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 September, 2017, 9:18pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 September, 2017, 10:45pm

The Hong Kong equestrian team are confident they will come back stronger after a difficult learning experience in China where they captured just one silver medal and one bronze at the National Games in Tianjin.

Despite individual success for Jacqueline Siu Wing-ying, who won silver in the dressage and Clarissa Lyra, winner of a bronze medal in show jumping, Hong Kong finished last in the eventing and show jumping, with Patrick Lam Lap-shun’s horse refusing to jump.

Hong Kong’s poor results came despite financial backing from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, who brought in top class horses from Europe for the competition – which proved to be a stiff challenge for the team.

“Horses going into China had to be locked in a stable yard one month before their departure and did the same after they arrived in Beijing for quarantine reasons,” said Corinne Bracken, the Hong Kong equestrian team’s performance manager in show jumping.

“During this period we could not take the horses out and barely had any practise. Horses can get bored.

“But at the same time other provinces could take their horses out and continued to train and compete in test events in Tianjin.

“That’s why bringing horses to the National Games was a disadvantage to us. But we knew it would be challenging. We thought we’d give it a go as we tried our hardest and did our best.

“But I won’t let them focus on the negatives. We still come home with medals and we’ve got some good horses out there and Lam had an unbelievable season in eventing.”

Bracken said there will soon be a review of the National Games before plans are formulated and strategies put in place for the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

“It was disappointing,” said Lam, the individual jumping champion at the 2009 National Games and overall champion of the 2016 Jumping World Cup China League.

“We knew it was going to be hard and we knew we are not going to win every gold medal, but coming last in both team events is never a good feeling. But sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

“I had a good moment already in the National Games but this time it was not very good. You have to experience these kind of things and learn from these mistakes before you come back stronger at our next target, the Asian Games.”

Silver medallist Siu said the result had given her more confidence before her challenge at the Asian Games again after narrowly missing out on a medal with a fourth-placed finish at the Incheon Games in 2014.