SINGAPORE - In the end, what separated victory and defeat was a mere 0.2sec as Chiara Sophia Amor from the Philippines edged out Singapore's Nicola Hammond to win the Concours de Saut International individual showjumping event at the National Equestrian Centre yesterday.
The 16-year-old had to deal with a moment of panic when her horse hesitated at one of the obstacles before completing her round in 55.97sec, just beating Nicola to the top spot.
"I was really nervous going through the course," said Chiara who has been riding for six years.
"But I tried to remember to breathe a bit, to get along with the horse, and to relax."
Despite the loss, Nicola, a United World College South East Asia student, was satisfied with her performance in the CSIY-B (young riders, borrowed horses) category.
The 15-year-old, who drew Links Hot Gossip, which came in first in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, said: "I was really happy with my horse because he tries really hard and I couldn't have done any better.
"Because I drew this thoroughbred, I felt a lot of pressure to do well and I tried hard to meet everyone's expectations. I met those and my own as well."
The CSIY-B is a competition format that allows young riders to compete under Olympic rules on horses loaned by the host country and balloted to the entrants. Male and female riders also compete together.
Singapore's other two representatives, Sasha Thorburn (63.26sec) and Cheong Su Yen (58.73sec and seven penalties for knockdowns), came in third and eighth respectively.
The Republic's Janine Khoo, who won the individual showjumping gold at the SEA Games in December, did not compete as she had flown to Spain on Saturday to participate in the Sunshine Tour, an equestrian event.
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