History made: Horse rider Usman Khan secures berth in Paris Olympics


Pakistani horse rider Usman Khan during a race. — photo by author
Pakistani horse rider Usman Khan during a race. — photo by author 

KARACHI: Pakistani horse rider Usman Khan created history on Sunday when he secured his berth in the Paris Olympics by achieving the minimum eligibility requirement at FEI 4-star event held in Ireland.

Lahore-born Usman achieved this feat with his horse Mairaj after competing in various European events.

Prior to achieving the feat in Ireland, Khan also participated in various events in Switzerland, France, Poland, Germany, and Belgium.

He travelled from France to Ireland via the UK to participate in the qualifying round, using multiple modes of transportation.

This is Khan’s second back-to-back qualification to the Olympics. He previously qualified for the Tokyo Olympics but met an accident in Australia that injured him severely while his horse died.

Usman will participate in eventing — a combination of cross-country, showjumping and dressage — that will test both the horse and rider in all aspects of horsemanship.

“By the grace of Almighty Allah, Pakistan has qualified for Paris Olympics 2024 at local time 1030 in Ireland, Sunday 30 July 2023 during FEI ** 4-star Kilguilkey International Horse Trials at Mallow,” Usman told this correspondent in an electronic message.

“App ko mubarak ho. Pakistan ko mubarak ho. Kamzoor ho, laikin dil mein chand sitra kie Mubahbat zindha hai [Congratulations to you. Congratulations to Pakistan. I am weak, but the love for the crescent and star lives in my heart],” the message added.

Usman told Geo News that his achievement was big for Pakistan; however, it is also important for him to maintain this MER to keep the position in Paris Olympics.

“We have to keep this position maintained in next 12 months and for that we need a reserve horse and participation in events to come,” Usman said.

“It is important that authorities release the funding they agreed to provide me previously, it will ensure my smooth sailing ahead of Paris Olympics,” he added.

Usman had earlier qualified for Asian Games as well, but EFP did not confirm his participation before the deadline.

Usman, Pakistani-Australian, relocated to France to prepare better for the Paris Olympics.


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