H&H’s Tokyo rider of the day: Lea Siegl, the youngest eventing competitor, impresses on day one

  • The youngest competitor in the Olympic eventing competition at the Tokyo Olympics is 22-year-old Lea Siegl, who is representing Austria.

    She is riding Marianne Mühlböck’s 14-year-old chestnut gelding DSP Fighting Line, a horse with whom Lea has contested junior and young rider European Championships. Lea also finished third with him in the CCI4*-S at Marbach in May.

    This is the combination’s first senior championship and Lea got things off to a good start when scoring 32.6 in the first phase, in a very well-ridden and polished performance.

    “That was an amazing feeling to ride in this arena,” Lea said after her test. “My horse stayed very cool and I’m very pleased with him – he tries his best.”

    Asked if she is feeling any pressure being the youngest rider competing in the eventing competition, Lea’s answer was a simple “no”.

    “Everyone is talking about this and I don’t mind,” she said. “My main aim to start with was to go to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games but my 2019 and 2020 seasons went very well, so I got selected for these Games. I’m very happy that I can be here and that I get the chance to compete here.”

    Lea explained how the one-year delay for these Games helped her to be selected to compete here.

    “I was happy about it because I’m still young and not so experienced, and in the extra year we got, I had the chance to go and compete at some other competitions, so I gained experience. For me, it was no problem that the Games were postponed – I was a bit lucky that they changed the date.”

    Lea is looking forward to the next two phases, but also has a sensible head on her young shoulders.

    “My horse is very fast and a good jumper, but we will see how it goes,” she said. “It’s my first year now at the senior level and although I know he can be very fast, I’m not sure if I will stay cool and whether I’m ready to do a fast cross-country at this level yet, so my aim is to go clear, and we will see how the time goes.

    “I’m happy to be here, but I know I have a long way to go and I still need a lot of experience. I want to try my best and we will see.”

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