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New Delhi [India], July 20 (ANI): Former Indian equestrian Imtiaz Anees wants Fouaad Mirza to "live in the moment" when he takes the field in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Fouaad is the first Indian equestrian to make the Olympic cut in 20 years, with the last representative from the nation being Imtiaz at Sydney 2000.
"I want him to live in the moment, it's overwhelming and it's surreal because of the level he is going to be at. The whole country will be watching him but he must forget all that, he must only think about himself and his horse," Imtiaz told ANI.
The former Indian equestrian feels Fouaad has a "high" chance of finishing on the podium since he has been in good form in the last couple of years.
"I wish him all the best because it is always very hard when it comes to equestrian, it's very hard since a horse is also involved," said Imtiaz.
"And it's also hard because he has not seen the course and until the course opens only then we will know how technical it is and how difficult it is. But he had some great performances in the past and he is in good form. His horse is also in good form he has a very high probability but again we will not know till the morning of the event," he added.
Fouaad had won a quota for the Tokyo Olympics in 2019 itself, but the coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of events globally meant that he could only complete the Minimum Eligibility Requirements for the Olympics in May this year.
He managed to do that at Baborowko in Poland, finishing second on Seigneur Medicott and third with Dajara 4.
"Pandemic has affected the mental health of every athlete and it has become a big problem also because in Olympics you have to peak at the right time," said Imtiaz. "And your peak performance was last year because that is when the Olympics was. So now it becomes very hard to extend the peak performance for a whole year.
"So ones who are going to do well are the ones who have actually timed that perfectly to let themselves switch off and switch on again. So that's gonna be the big thing," he added.
Just three days before the start of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, Fouaad has decided to change his horse and he will now go with Seigneur Medicott in the Games. Medicott, lovingly known as Micky, helped him win the two silvers at the Asian Games and they both share a strong emotional connect with each other.
At first, Fouaad picked Dajara 4 for the Olympics, but in the last few gruelling weeks of competing and practise, Fouaad felt that Dajara 4 had undergone a lot of pressure. This prompted the change in the final entry with Seigneur Medicott for the Tokyo Olympics as the horse was moving better. (ANI)