FPJ Sports Desk
The Regional Equestrian League (REL) too has fallen by the wayside thanks to the extension of the lockdown. The organisers, Amateur Riders’ Club (ARC), a civilian horse-riding and equestrian sports club in Mumbai, have kept the event on hold, until the situation returns to normal.
The REL is a national qualifier league for show jumping and dressage, which was going to be held at Mahalaxmi racecourse on May 9 and 10 this year. Among the many Asian Games finalists, Yashaan Khambatta and Kaevaan and Zahan Setalvad,who were eager to battle it out for the national title on their home turf were the hardest hit.
“I was looking forward to the REL to move onto the nationals, for which I have been training daily at the ARC. There have been very few events this year, owing to the lockdown. I am hoping it ends soon and gives me enough time to prepare for the Asian Games 2022,” said Yashaan Khambatta, who was the first Indian ever to have advanced into the final round of the show-jumping class at the 2014 Asian Games.
The feelings of the former Asian Games finalist, Kaevaan Setalvad, the defending national champion favoured to retain the title, were no different. “It was thrilling to win the nationals last year at Meerut and I was looking forward to the REL this year, to win again. Can't wait to go back on the grounds and start training again, soon,” he declares.
Reacting to the move, Shyam Mehta, president, ARC said, “It is unfortunate that the REL had to be cancelled. However, at present, our priority is to ensure everyone’s safety. We have some of the best talent in the country and would like to give them every opportunity to do well and win national and international competitions.”