Equestrian sees success | Sunday Observer

Equestrian sees success

Show jumping, under equestrian, though, given prominence at the mega sporting extravaganza, Olympics, in the Sri Lankan space, has only been a little talked about and a silent sport. The Sri Lanka Equestrian Association (SLEA), in its work to change the status-quo, has already been rewarded with its second successive edition, seeing a double-growth on Sunday (11), at the Polo grounds, Diyatalawa.

This was after yesteryear’s inaugural edition had kicked-off with 30-participants. Both years had been worked-off in three of the many disciplines of Equestrian: show jumping, ten pegging and cross-country.

Riders, having managed to grab the first five positions from each category, were recognised and rewarded with trophies. Accordingly, Sandaruwan Herath was adjudged as the winner, under the cross-country category, while in the show jumping event Shantha Nawaratne walked away with first price for clocking 50 seconds and in the ten-pegging competition, Kumara Dharmadhasa bagged the number one position for winning 12-points.

Each class or discipline has had over ten participations, including the Mounted Police. The contest also saw members of the Victoria Saddle Club, Premadasa Riding School as well as upcountry riding clubs battling it out.

President of the Association Suranjith Premadasa said, “Cross-country also known as eventing, was conducted across a one-and-a-half kilometre range with obstacles. For these riders were competing with horses.”

There were no groups or teams, but the events were solely on individual basis. All 60 participants, who participated were over 18-years-old, that, in fact, was the criteria.

In a country, where cricket, rugby and athletics have been the mainstay and the most-viewed, ‘equestrian’ is an emerging sport and St.Thomas’ College,Gurutalawa, was also represented.

This year’s event was well-attended and had increased participation, with the Police and the Army adding to the scores of turn-ups.


Evolution of Equestrianism

Though there is no exact date as to when exactly this sport was born, available data indicates horses were first ridden millenniums ago, in 3,500 BC.

The watershed moment for the sport was when it broke in to the 1900 Summer Olympics in the romantic capital Paris. However, it abruptly disappeared for the next 12 years, but has been part and parcel of every instalment since the 1912 games. Then any of the disciplines practised now, were not featured.

In this day and age though Dressage, Eventing and Jumping are being contested, in the most-watched games and otherwise.