What doesn’t break you makes you stronger, says Hong Kong’s first Asian Games equestrianism champion Jacqueline Siu
- Siu won Asian Games gold after series of disappointments
- Olympic qualification campaign first started 10 years ago and Tokyo remains the ultimate dream
Its previous failures that drive Asian Games gold medallist Jacqueline Siu Wing-ying to ever greater goals. And it’s the 35-year-old’s instinct to persevere, which is helping her focus on her next big target: a place at the 2020 Olympic Games.
After a stunning performance in Jakarta this summer, when Siu won Hong Kong’s first ever equestrian gold in the individual dressage, the England-based rideris now dreaming of competing in Tokyo.
“Going to the Olympics will be a dream of mine, my ultimate dream,” said Siu, who was back in Hong Kong for the first time since her Asian Games success and a trip to the World Equestrian Games in the United States.
“It’s a difficult challenge ahead and it’s never easy. You have to really commit and for everything to go right.
“The qualifying procedure is fierce for Tokyo, especially as an individual rider, you are fighting for very limited spaces.”
Siu, who started dressage at the age of five in Beas River, hoped to compete in the Olympics 10 years ago when Hong Kong hosted the 2008 Beijing Games equestrian programme.
“Unfortunately, my horse injured himself in the final stages of the qualification,” Siu said. “It was not possible to continue.”
“It was very upsetting at the time. But setbacks make you stronger, make your more determined. Hopefully, one day I can reach my goal.”
The road to her Asian Games success also tested her patience and perseverance. In 2006, she missed a podium finish when the dressage team finished fourth in Doha and, in 2014, she finished fourth in the individual dressage in Incheon, crying all the way home on the plane.
“I finally did it 12 years later,” she said. “This is a case of not giving up. To win this Asian Games gold medal is a combination of all the hard work over these years.
“That’s also the interesting thing about equestrian sport. You are always continuing to improve, to develop your skills and your mission is never accomplished. You are always striving to be the best you can be.”
Even if Siu cannot make it to Tokyo, she will carry on.
“When you are so passionate about something, it becomes more than a job, it’s your lifestyle, it’s your everyday life,” she said. “This is the reason why you motivate yourself, something that you just can’t turn on and off, and for me this is something I want to continue.
“At the 2012 London Olympics, there was a dressage rider who was in his 70s.”
Siu and her winning horse, Jockey Club Fuerst on Tour, will perform in front of home crowds for the first time at the Longines Hong Kong Masters in February. The combination also won a silver medal at last year’s China National Games in Tianjin.
The Hong Kong Equestrian Federation will name its show jumpers for the competition next month.
Clarissa Lyra, who represented Hong Kong last year, said she would jump at the chance if she is selected again for the annual showpiece at AsiaWorld-Expo at Chek Lap Kok.
“My goal is to improve my result from last year as it was a big learning experience,” said the 22-year-old, who also represented Hong Kong at the Asian Games in the summer.
Lyra won an individual jumping bronze medal at the 2017 China National Games.