If fans of the sport had been asked to predict which six riders would make the jump-off of today’s Olympic showjumping individual final at the Tokyo Games, not many would have included Japan’s Daisuke Fukushima in their list.
The home side rider has never won an FEI competition on his ride here, Chanyon, but tonight, he mixed it with the best in the sport by jumping the second clear of the initial round. He went first in the jump-off and pulled off another clear, finishing in sixth place, to the delight of the many Japanese volunteers around the arena.
Daisuke explained afterwards that he prioritised jumping clear over time in the jump-off.
“In the past I’ve tried to do too much and Chanyon didn’t do well, so I tried to keep it controlled,” he said. “I’m not upset I didn’t get a medal. It’s very challenging to be here with such strong international competition, but I’m very satisfied with the results and appreciate all the support I’ve been getting. And I’m learning a lot from so many people from so many countries.”
In addition, the 43-year-old rider did not want to throw everything at this competition with the team event still to come on Friday and Saturday.
“I didn’t want to use up too much energy, I wanted to keep his power and concentration,” he said.
Daisuke Fukushima has had the 13-year-old Chacco Blue son Chanyon for just over three years and says that the Olympic postponement worked in his favour, allowing him time to build a better connection with the horse.
Daisuke was a team silver medallist at the 2018 Asian Games riding Cornet 36. This was his second Olympics after Rio 2016 and he said that on that occasion, he felt very tense, but this time he has good concentration and feels mentally strong. He certainly showed that tonight.
You might also be interested in:
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.