India Sports

Arjuna Awardees in Equestrian

Though, equestrian tournaments have been quite common in India, Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) was established in India in 1967. Later on, EFI became affiliated to Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI). At present, it is headquartered in the capital, New Delhi. The federation flag includes a tricolor logo on white satin. It is also affiliated to Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Sports Authority of India (SAI), Asian Equestrian Federation (AEF) and Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI).

In January, 2012, Concours Complet International, CCI 1* event, which is a high level equestrian competition at the international level was organized in Jaipur, India. M S Rathore who was on the horse named, "Kelecyns", came on first position, followed by DFR Govind Ram on "Arjun" on second, RIS Dinesh Kumar on "Manzil" on third, and ALD Rajender Singh on "Morni" was on fourth position.

The CSI category 'B' was held in Algeria in July, 2009. The Indian contingent including Ms Aliya Das Gupta and Mr Nitin Gupta gave an excellent performance in the event. Ms Aliya received appreciation from the member of the organizing committee Ms Fahima Sebiane, who was also the international "show jumping" judge. She termed Ms. Aliya as the queen of the show.

In the London Olympic Games 2012, the equestrian events were organized at Greenwich Park. All the three equestrian disciplines of dressage, eventing and jumping were held in the first week of August. Unfortunately, Indian national champion in the dressage, Mrityunjay Rathore was not able to qualify for this event. He didn't even get to participate in a single qualifying event. According to him, Indian quarantine regulations do not allow transporting horses, as it is expensive for them. Mr Rathore has the best lineup of competitive horses back home in India.

So, the lack of budget and the quarantine laws have become a bottleneck for Indian equestrian. It doesn't even allow the Indian performers to represent at the major global events. This is the reason no Indian horseman has qualified for the Olympics since the year 2000.

One more misconception about India in the western world is that it is a "disease-prone" country. As a result, none of the countries active at equestrian sport is ready to sign a treaty with India to facilitate recognition of testing systems, which may reduce quarantine periods for the transportation of horses to a maximum of 8 to 10 days.

In the absence of such a treaty, the Indian equestrian federation has to fly their horses to Malaysia first, on their way to Europe. Because Malaysia is a preferred destination for the horses from the subcontinent and it also has an equestrian treaty with the UK. Only after spending two months here, the horses are allowed to fly to UK, where again it takes around seven days time of quarantine.

The primary reason, the governing body of equestrian sports in India, the EFI is reluctant to finance any trip to the Olympic Games, according to them, is that the cost of transportation of horses comes to a few crore rupees and EFI does not think that there is any possibility of India winning a medal in equestrian events in the Olympics. They gladly finance the trips to Asian Games, though.

Apart from the financing issues, there are other issues as well. Last time, three of the horses were barred from the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in 2010, simply because they were tested positive for a mosquito borne viral disease. As a result, the EFI rejected the proposal to send the horses, even for the participants of individual events.

List of Arjuna Award Winners in Equestrian

YearName of the Participant
1973Dafadar Khan M. Khan
1976Lt. Col. H.S. Sodhi
1982Maj. R. S Brar
1982Raghubir Singh
1984Capt. G. Mohd. Khan
1987Maj. J. S. Ahluwalia
1991Capt. Adhiraj Singh
2003Capt. Rajesh Pattu
2004Maj. D K Ahlawat

Last Updated on 10/09/2012