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Hong Kong equestrian rider Kenneth Ho ended the season on track to qualify but was narrowly beaten by Sri Lankan Mathilda Karlsson. Photo: HKJC

Heartbreak for Hong Kong equestrian star Kenneth Cheng after narrowly missing out on Tokyo 2020 qualification

  • Showjumping veteran and 2008 Olympian Cheng loses out on qualification after Sri Lanka’s Karlsson earns crucial year-end points
  • Hong Kong equestrian will be represented by eventing star Thomas Ho with two Paralympic spots still up for grabs
Hong Kong equestrian rider Kenneth Cheng Man-kit’s 2020 Olympics dreams are over after narrowly missing out on qualification.
The 31-year-old showjumping specialist was holding his breath in December of last year after surging to second-place in the official International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) rankings – which at that point, was sufficient to book his ticket to Tokyo.
Kenneth Cheng secures two medals at the inaugural Asian Championships in Thailand last year. Photo: HKJC

Cheng – who represented Hong Kong at the 2008 Beijing Olympics – had spent the entire summer training in Belgium and competing in mainland China to collect valuable points. He opted to sit out the remaining two competitions of the year.

Sri Lanka’s Mathilda Karlsson leapfrogged Cheng after two point-worthy performances in France, earning the final slot for the Asia region. She joins Taiwan’s Jasmine Chen, who had already qualified in first place. Asian powerhouses Japan and Australia already had their showjumping places booked for Tokyo.

Kenneth Cheng (second from right) represents the Hong Kong Equestrian Team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Photo: SCMP

Fellow Hong Kong show-jumpers Patrick Lam, Raena Leung and Jacqueline Lai also missed out on Olympic qualification.


Hong Kong equestrian’s Olympic hopes lie in Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) rider Thomas Ho, the 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist who propelled himself to the top of the eventing rankings at the tail end of last year. The HKJC is still waiting on FEI confirmation regarding its two remaining slots in the Paralympics dressage category. A decision is expected at the end of this month.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Heartbreak for showjumper Cheng