Chinese Olympic runner Hua Tian stays on course

TOKYO, Aug.4 (Xinhua) – The trip to Tokyo was meant to be special for Alex Hua Tian. This is the third time that the Chinese rider has participated in the Olympics, but the first time that he has teammates in the eventing.

The 31-year-old finished 25th in the individual eventing after finishing third in dressage but suffering some time penalties in cross country.

“Proud to qualify for my second individual final and proud of the Don for jumping onto the huge second track – even though we made fatigue errors throughout,” Hua wrote on his social media account after the competition .

What made Hua more proud was that his country was ninth in its very first Olympic team eventing competition with the three athletes – Bao Yingfeng, Sun Huadong and Hua – in the top 40. “It’s remarkable. “, did he declare.

Hua admitted that when the Chinese Equestrian Association discussed with him the possibility of competing as a team in the 2020 Olympics at the start of the Tokyo cycle, he really thought it was “too little, too late” .

“But I have to be very positive about their efforts. And also about my Chinese running mates who have taken this very important and key step to challenge themselves and come to Europe,” Hua told Xinhua last year. .

Hua praised his Chinese teammates for “putting a lot of effort, blood, sweat and tears” into the team qualification and gave them the opportunity to compete as a team on the Olympic stage for the first time.

“As an individual, in some ways you can be very focused on yourself, but as a team, it’s something that you can share the pressures with each other. You can talk about the issues. that you meet with the horses, ”said Hua who has competed twice in the Asian Games as a team and really enjoyed the experience.

Raised by a Chinese father and British mother, Hua spent most of his childhood in the UK, but has spearheaded the Chinese eventing since he was young.

At the age of 18, Hua made his Olympic debut in Beijing 2008, becoming the youngest Olympic runner in history.

He enjoyed the spotlight at the World Sports Festival and caught the attention of Chinese audiences, even though many of them had little knowledge of equestrian sports. However, the fairytale journey ended in an unpleasant way when he stumbled across the cross country.

More than 12 years have passed, but Hua still remembers the disappointment of that heartbreaking moment. However, this also determined him to pursue his career in eventing.

Four years after the Beijing Olympics, Hua missed qualifying for the London Olympics by a small margin, but then rebounded to eighth place four years later in Rio.

“Finishing eighth was beyond my wildest dreams at the time,” Hua said of the Rio Games. “But the hard thing is, it’s hard to replicate.”

The postponement of the 2020 Games due to COVID-19 inevitably affected Hua’s preparations.

“Olympic Games [being] the postponement of one year is quite delicate; as athletes, we all knew what was going to happen before the IOC announced, ”Hua told Xinhua when he tried to summarize the year 2020.

“We spend our lives on these crazy four-year cycles in preparation for each Olympics, being mentally and physically capable of letting ourselves come back from its peak, ready to rebuild a year later, it’s really difficult.

“But everyone all over the world is disruptive, everyone is struggling this year without any exceptions. So I think as athletes we tend to be pretty stoic and philosophical people who can ride with it. the punches. “

Hua had horses Don Geniro and Spike qualified for the Games and made the decision to bring Don Geniro to Tokyo at the last moment.

“Horses have their own anxieties. They have their own worries, but horses are also amplifiers and mirrors of you. If you are nervous, if you are anxious, they will feel it and amplify it,” a- he declared.

“So as a rider you have to show leadership towards your horse, which I feel comfortable and confident about. And it’s the best way to help your horse feel comfortable and confident too. “

Hua said his participation in the individual event at the Olympics was only half a step for China, while the team’s participation was the real first step in China’s sports goals at the Games. Olympic.

“It is a sport that takes many years and many years of experience, not only as individual runners, but as an industry and as a structure. We still have a lot to learn.”

After the Rio Games, Hua tried to do more for Chinese equestrian sports because he received more resources. “I didn’t think that training one or two students at a time had enough impact for me. What I wanted to do was try to educate and I guess change perceptions about what sport is all about.”

“The Horsemanship movement is something that I am very passionate about,” Hua said during the presentation of the charity program he co-founded in 2017. “It encompasses so much that I believe in life and how much it is. horses are amazing for the character development of children.

“I am convinced that China can be a power in this sport in the future and that the sport has so much to offer to society at large,” concluded Hua.

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