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‘Heartbreaking’ team withdrawal from Tokyo Paralympic dressage: ‘horse and rider welfare is our top priority’


  • Hong Kong has made the “heartbreaking” decision to withdraw from the Tokyo Paralympic dressage team competition, after one of the side’s horses showed signs of lameness after arriving at the Games.

    Hong Kong was set to make its team dressage Paralympic debut in Tokyo. Its squad of three arrived at the Games on Friday (20 August), but the withdrawal of Timothy Tsang’s ride Cethegus M (“Gus”) means the side cannot continue in the team competition.

    “On Sunday 22 August, upon examination by team vet, Adrian Farrington, Timothy’s partner horse Cethegus M unfortunately was deemed to be lame,” said a statement from the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation.

    “The implications of this are that he would not be able to do sufficient work to enable Timothy to ride him safely. The welfare of both the horse and rider are our top priority.

    “This is heartbreaking news for the rider and the team. The withdrawal of Timothy and Cethegus M also means that Hong Kong can no longer participate in the team dressage competition.”

    As Hong Kong was fielding a squad of three, Timothy’s withdrawal means there is no combination to take his place for the side to be allowed to continue in the team contest. But while the team dream is now on hold until Paris 2024, Hong Kong’s other two riders Natasha Tse (Baxo) and Fleur Schrader (Caraat) will continue as individuals.

    “Timothy and the team are understandably deeply disappointed. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is giving its full support to Timothy with the help of sport psychologist Dr Anna Waters.

    “Timothy and Gus will now focus on the next championship and look forward to qualifying for Paris 2024 alongside the rest of his team members.”

    Paralympic dressage start time

    Hong Kong’s withdrawal, coupled with the hot weather Tokyo is experiencing, mean several Paralympic dressage sessions have been pushed back an hour from the original schedule.

    The wet bulb forecast for the next three days is for mid-afternoon temperatures to reach between around 31 and 32+ degrees. The Wet Bulb Globe Forecast measures humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover (solar radiation), as well as temperature, to give an overall measure of climatic conditions.

    The individual and freestyle Tokyo Paralympic dressage sessions were set to start just after 3pm on their respective days. This has now become 4pm.

    “It was agreed that the 3pm start time for the para dressage competitions would not be suitable, as it would be too hot at this time of the day for competition to take place,” an FEI spokesman told H&H.

    “In addition, following the withdrawal of the Hong Kong team, the start times were amended.”

    View the Tokyo Paralympic dressage schedule

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