HONG KONG, Dec. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- While the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) hosted its first ever Asian competition in Thailand this year, equine tradition has existed in this tropical destination for over a century and with its world class young riders and facilities, the future of Thai equestrian looks promising. In CNN Equestrian: Asian Championships, Aly Vance visits the Southeast Asian kingdom playing host to this major international event where she meets the region's most promising young athletes and explores the country's own equestrian history.
Highlights of the 30-minute special include:
Thailand hosts first FEI Asian Championships
While it may be traditionally considered a European sport, the future of equestrian may come from Asia. This year, a major international equestrian event, the FEI Championships, made its Asian debut in Thailand where promising young riders from around the world competed across eventing, jumping and dressage. Aly Vance speaks to FEI official Jack Huang who explained why they felt Thailand was the best location to make their Asian debut. The inaugural event was graced with a royal touch, as Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya led the Thai Dressage team to gold as captain. CNN speaks to the Princess on the nation's big win and what it felt like to secure team gold.
The rise of the Asian rider
Thailand's first FEI Asian Championships showcases its promising young local talent, and Weerapat Pitakanonda may be leading that pack. Considered one of the country's most successful Equestrian athletes – having claimed the most medals for his country in his discipline – the young rider has already secured a spot at the 2020 Olympic games. This year, he competed for gold alongside some of the region's best riders, including Japan's Taizo Sugitani, an Olympic veteran. Aly Vance speaks to the two riders and Thai coach Dominique Greeves about why the Asian Championships – full of promising young athletes from all across Asia -- feels stronger now than ever before.
Horse hospital that promises equine healing
In equestrian sport, the pressure of competition is felt by both the athletes and the horses alike and ensuring their prime health and athletic ability is essential for success. Hosted at the Thai Polo & Equestrian club, riders and their hooved partners rely on the facility's on-site horse hospital for injury prevention, physiotherapy and general health check-ups. CNN speaks to manager Santigo Bachman, who gives us a tour of the venue, and Nunthinee Tanner, co-owner of the entire facility.
Airtimes for 30-minute special:
Thursday, 19th December at 1630 HKT
Friday, 20th December at 0130 HKT
Monday, 23rd December at 1030 HKT
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