Udayavni Special

Swiss showjumper takes stock after Olympic delay


PTI, Apr 22, 2020, 10:59 AM IST

London: Martin Fuchs was dreaming of celebrating Olympic showjumping gold on his grey gelding Clooney 51, soaking up the atmosphere in the Japanese heat as the Swiss flag was raised.

Instead, the 27-year-old rider, who competed in Rio four years ago, has been forced to play a waiting game by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The European champion and world silver medallist began the year as world number one ahead of compatriot Steve Guerdat and was gunning for Olympic gold in Tokyo.

But Fuchs is confident that his horse will be up to the challenge at the postponed Games next year, and is enjoying aspects of the enforced break from his usual relentless schedule. “It is obviously a disappointment as I was very excited and looking forward to the Olympics this year,” he told AFP by phone from his stables in Wangi, Switzerland.

“But I think even next year Clooney will still be in good shape as he won’t be doing much this year because there is not much happening,” he said.

Fuchs hails from a family whose showjumping pedigree spans generations. His grandfather was a showjumper and his father, Thomas, and uncle both represented Switzerland at the Olympics. His uncle, Markus Fuchs, won silver in the team event at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Fuchs said that the postponement of events had meant a big upheaval but not to his routine at home, where he rides “four or five of his eight good horses daily”.

“We have our staff and grooms working,” he said.

“My Dad mostly is still riding a lot of training and putting up fences. Not going to shows is not such a big difference in daily life. No shows, no dealing or trading going on but still some work going on, just there is no income anymore,” he added.

As a result of Fuchs, whose hunger for the competition began aged seven competing on a pony called Cleopatra, says they have had to dig into their reserves.

“Definitely for us now it is a bit rougher as no prize money or trading,” he said.

“But we managed over the past years to put money aside so we can touch that now to pay for things,” he added.

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