South Korean Dongheon Nam and Team Thailand won the gold medal in dressage in the first-ever FEI Asia Championships, held in Pattaya, Thailand, on 30 November - 8 December 2019. This multi-disciplinary event covered jumping, dressage and eventing.
The team and individual dressage championships took place 1 - 4 December.
Modest Interest in Posh Inaugural Asian Championships
At the FEI board meeting in June 2018 Pattaya was allocated as host of the 2019 FEI Asian Championships, but soon after the Asian Equestrian Federation withdrew its involvement in the organisation of these Championships. The Thailand Equestrian Federation and the Pattaya Organising Committee stepped to the plate and financed the FEI Asian Championships 2019 in an attempt to make it a resounding sporting success.
The organizers appointed Oliver Hoberg, Footing Specialist for Tokyo 2020, to build brand new competition and warm-up arenas as well as to upgrade all existing training surfaces.
Furthermore to facilitate the maximum participation of teams, the Organising Committee, headed by Dr. Harald Link and Khun Nunthinee Tanner, chartered a US$1,000,000 flight to bring participating horses based in Europe free of charge into Thailand and back!
Unfortunately despite all favorable conditions, the interest to compete at these Championships was lukewarm and just 13 riders from 6 different nations participated in the dressage championships, which were ridden at small tour level.
Thailand Takes Team Gold
The week in Pattaya started in fine style for the hosts as they secured the first ever gold medal in the new FEI Asian Championships.
Thai team members Pakjira Thongpakdi, HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya, Arinadtha Chavatanont and Apisada Bannagijsophon helped Thailand to first place, with Chavatanont the stand-out performer. They scored a team total of 198.912 (team average of 66.304%) for the gold medal.
The team from Taiwan, with Vivian Chang, Chia-Hui Lai and Janise S.H.Lu, locked in on team silver with 192.500 points.
Indonesia came home in third place with 179.176 points (team average 59%).
Dongheon Nam Wins Individual and Freestyle Gold
German based Dongheon Nam was the only rider representing South Korea at the Championships in Pattaya but he became the first-ever FEI Asia Championships individual champion when he took gold in the Dressage competition.
Nam, who had been the top-scorer in the team competition, finished first on his 15-year old Westfalian gelding First Edition (by Fiano x Dynast) with a score of 68.353% in the individual competition which was decided by the Intermediaire I.
That was just enough to finish ahead of Thailand’s Pakjira Thongpakdi on her 16-year old Hanoverian mare Hispania (by Hofrat x Wie Weltmeyer), while Indonesia’s Larasati Gading came third on her 18-year old Rhinelander Diamond Boy (by Diamond Hit x Salerno). Chinese young star Sarah Rao was fourth while Thailand’s Princess HRH Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya with her Prince Charming took fifth.
Nam and First Edition completed the double when they added Individual Freestyle gold with an immense score of 73.919%.Nam is trained by German Yvonne Fiestelmann.
Thailand’s Pakjira Thongpakdi made it a second silver to add to Team gold with 70.663%.
Thai compatriot Arinadtha Chavatanont and the 12-year old Dutch warmblood Clapton C (by Jazz x San Remo) was just behind in third with 69.769%.
Images by Yong Tek Lim