‘100 million won at your own expense’… The first place in each equestrian event will be ‘supported once’
While the Korean Equestrian Federation is sticking to the condition of ‘bearing at least 100 million won in expenses’ to participate in the Hangzhou Asian Games, the top athletes in equestrian events have confirmed that they have applied.
According to Yonhap News Agency, more than nine athletes have expressed their intention to participate in the Asian Games by the 25th, including those who finished first in their respective categories at the selection trials.
Nam Dong-heon (Gwangju Metropolitan Equestrian Association) won first place in dressage, Lim Sung-no (Gyeongsangbuk-do Equestrian Association) in show jumping and Park Soo-il (Gyeonggi-do Equestrian Association) in eventing in April last year.토토사이트
The deadline for submitting letters of intent to participate in the Asian Games was set for the 19th, but the federations extended it to the 25th after consultation with the Korean Olympic Committee.
Unlike Lim Sung-no and Park Su-il, Nam Dong-heon, who did not apply on the 19th, submitted his letter of intent to compete at the Asian Games on a “self-funded basis”.
He told Yonhap News Agency on the 26th, “I was worried that I would not be able to compete at all if the situation changed in the future because I did not apply this time. I can only apply and wait,” he said.
He added, “It’s even more unfair if I have problems later because of a piece of paper. There’s a myth that all equestrians are rich, but that’s not the case. I’m also an office worker, so I can’t pay 100 million won right away.”
Kim Hyuk (Gyeongsangnam-do Equestrian Association), last year’s gold medallist in dressage at the national championships and the runner-up behind Nam Dong-heon in the selection round, also announced his intention to compete, unlike last week.
“I had no choice because it was impossible to compete if I didn’t apply,” he said, adding, “It doesn’t mean that I completely agree with the federation’s decision.”
After becoming the first high school rider to win a dressage gold medal at the 2013 National Championships, Kim missed the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and finished with a bronze at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games.
In preparation for the Hangzhou Asian Games, Kim Hyuk did not compete for six months between the selection rounds in April last year and the national championships in October. This was to save face.
“100 million won is not a small amount of money,” he said, “I’ve been waiting for this competition for five years and I couldn’t give it up.” “We are in desperate need of support from the association, the Korean Sports Federation and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism,” he added.
Park Soo-il, who qualified for the Asian Games as the only rider to achieve the FEI’s minimum entry level (MER) in dressage, also said, “How many people can afford 100 million won, but an athlete must strive for their goals, and I cannot give up just because the situation is difficult.”
The association held a board meeting on the 15th and decided that athletes who pay at least 100 million won for their own expenses, including the cost of transporting their horses, will be included in the Asian Games roster.
The federation said the cost had risen to 1.3 billion won ($1.3 million), more than double the cost of the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games, after the Asian Games organisers outsourced the horses’ air transport to a German agency and were forced to use a route between Europe and Hangzhou.
Amid a backlash from athletes, the federation says it has no other option in the face of financial difficulties.
Chairman Park Seo-young released a hand-drawn cartoon on social media on the 21st, saying, “I’m sorry to have to make this decision,” adding, “The athletes are the dream and future of Korean equestrianism, but the federation can’t even support the reality.”
After confirming the athletes’ final intentions, the federation will hold a performance improvement committee to finalise the roster by the end of the month.