Martin Fuchs
Martin Fuchs

Tokyo: Martin Fuchs was dreaming of celebrating Olympic show jumping 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.

Showjumper Martin Fuchs celebrates winning individual jumping gold at the 2019 European championships. "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 a good shape as he won't be doing much this year because there is not much happening." Fuchs hails from a family whose show jumping 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 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 or training and putting up fences. Not going to shows is not such a big difference to daily life.

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