Anush Agarwalla: India's Equestrian Star Claims Historic Bronze at Asian Games 2023
Anush Agarwalla's journey from childhood passion to Asian Games glory, winning India's first Dressage Individual medal.
NEW DELHI: In a monumental achievement at the TL Equestrian Center in Hangzhou, India marked its presence on the global equestrian stage as Anush Agarwalla clinched a historic bronze medal in the Dressage Individual event at the Asian Games 2023. The 24-year-old rider and his equine partner, Etro, showcased exceptional skill and finesse in the intensely competitive 15-member final, which took place on a memorable Thursday, September 28.
Anush Agarwalla's remarkable bronze win in the Dressage Individual category marked a watershed moment in India's sporting history, as it was the first time the nation had ever secured a medal in this event at the prestigious Asian Games. Just days before this solo triumph, India's Dressage Team had already scripted history by clinching a historic gold medal in Hangzhou. The winning team comprised the talents of Hriday Chheda, Anush Agarwalla, Divyakriti Singh, and Sudipti Hajela, who together earned India its inaugural Dressage medal at the Asian Games – and it was nothing short of gold, the most coveted prize.
This latest medal added to India's ever-growing tally in Equestrian at the Asian Games, making it the 14th in the discipline's history. Within this collection, four glittering gold medals, including the recent triumph of the Dressage Team in Hangzhou, have solidified India's position as a rising powerhouse in equestrian sports.
Anush Agarwalla had previously dazzled in the Team final, elevating India's medal prospects with a brilliant performance as the anchor rider for the squad. His expertise and synergy with Etro set the stage for his solo success in the Dressage Individual final.
Anush Agarwalla and Etro's performance in the Dressage Individual final was nothing short of mesmerizing. They displayed an impeccable harmony with the music, capturing the judges' attention and admiration. Among the notable songs that accompanied their performance was the ever-popular "Jai Ho," adding an extra layer of cultural significance to their achievement.
In the final, Anush Agarwalla, who rode second to last, surged into the medal position with a stellar display of equestrian prowess. He and Etro earned an impressive 69.900 technical percentage points, while their artistic score soared to 76.160.
The momentous occasion had the top two riders waiting anxiously as Anush Agarwalla and Etro delivered a standout performance that left a lasting impression on the field. The gold medal was claimed by Malaysia's Mahamad Bin Fathil and his horse, Rosenstolz, with a remarkable percentage score of 75.780. Hong Kong's Wing Ying, riding Jockey Club Huittharien, secured the bronze with a total percentage score of 73.450.
Japan's Kuroda Ryunosuke and his horse, Bellatre DES, secured the fourth position, achieving an impressive score of 72.405. The suspense-filled atmosphere prevailed until the very last rider's results were announced, with the top three riders waiting anxiously for the outcome.
Anush Agarwalla's journey to this remarkable achievement began in Kolkata, where he first sat on a horse at the tender age of three. This initiation into the world of equestrian sports occurred when his parents took him to The Tollygunge Club in Kolkata for a weekend joy-ride. What started as a simple ritual soon evolved into a profound passion.
At the age of eight, Anush Agarwalla's mother enrolled him in riding lessons, marking the formal commencement of his equestrian journey. He began participating in local events for children, displaying his budding talent and determination. During this period, he even dreamt of competing in stadiums at prestigious events like the Asian Games and the Olympics, confidently sharing these aspirations with his friends.
At eleven years old, Anush Agarwalla embarked on regular trips to New Delhi to pursue his equestrian dreams. Despite still attending school in Kolkata at La Martiniere for Boys, one of the city's premier institutions, he would fly to New Delhi on weekends for rigorous training, returning home by Sunday evening. During this time, he made a name for himself in national competitions at the children's level, securing silver and gold medals at the Delhi Horse Show in April 2014.
This dedication and relentless pursuit of excellence continued until Anush Agarwalla turned sixteen, at which point he completed his class 10 exams and made the pivotal decision to relocate to Delhi. This move allowed him to wholeheartedly devote himself to his equestrian aspirations, ultimately culminating in his remarkable bronze medal win at the Asian Games 2023.