Congratulations are in order for the Thai National Equestrian Team and the Thai Equestrian Federation (TEF). For the first time ever, under the visionary leadership and equestrian passion of Dr. Harald Link, President and Mrs. Nunthinee Tanner Vice President of the Thailand Equestrian Federation, Thailand has qualified a team of three elite riders to compete at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, being held from July 23-August 8, 2021.
Thai riders have qualified in the Team Eventing discipline, securing their final Olympic tickets at the Baborówko Equestrian Festival held May 27-30 in Poland. Eventing is a holistic test of an equestrian athlete as it combines three disciplines – Show Jumping, Dressage, and Cross Country. Olympic qualification as a team is particularly difficult because all riders must qualify, as opposed to just one for individual disciplines.
The Thai National Team has been strategically building and preparing to debut on this greatest world athletic stage for a number of years. For over ten years, the TEF has been raising their standards with the aim of sending Thai riders to the Olympics.
The riders have been training with renowned French Eventing athlete and trainer, Maxime Livio, since 2013. Livio is an accomplished athlete in his own right with 25 wins in major FEI Evening competitions and is consistently ranked among the top French riders. He has already led the Thai team to win a Team Bronze Medal in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta as well as a double gold for both team and individual disciplines at the 2019 FEI Asian Championships held at Thai Polo and Equestrian Club in Chonburi.
Notably, 75% of the horses, not including the Olympic horses, that the Thai National Team has used to train to qualify for the Olympics are owned by Dr. Link and Mrs. Tanner.
Riders will continue training through June at Ecurie Livio Stable in Saumur, France before moving to Aachen, Germany in July for horse quarantine prior to the competition, as required by the host. Athletes will also undergo two rounds of Covid-19 screening before entering Japan and will receive daily testing for the duration of the Olympics. Spectators will not be allowed to attend the Games but the IOC has allotted one ticket per horse owner to attend.
As the first Thai equestrian team to ever qualify for the Olympics, and with the unwavering support of the TEF, we can look forward to seeing these rising stars compete on the world stage for years to come.