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Chinese rider makes historic debut in Beijing Olympics
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09:21, August 10, 2008


China's rider Alex Hua Tian rides on his horse "Chico" during eventing dressage competition held at the Hong Kong Olympic Equestrian Venue (Sha Tin) in the Olympic co-host city of Hong Kong, south China, Aug. 9, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)


Alex Hua Tian made history on Saturday evening as he rode confidently on his horse Chico into the Olympic dressage arena in Hong Kong, drawing applause from over 10,000 spectators at the Shatin Equestrian Venue.

Hua was the first Chinese rider ever to compete in Olympic equestrian events, and contributed a key part to China's attending all the 28 major sport categories, too. At the age of 18, the Eton College student was the youngest FEI (International Equestrian Federation)-registered rider to have gone through the four-star level.

Hua managed to signal for Chico to perform elegantly, although the German horse was a bit shy at first.

China's rider Alex Hua Tian rides on his horse "Chico" during eventing dressage competition held at the Hong Kong Olympic Equestrian Venue (Sha Tin) in the Olympic co-host city of Hong Kong, south China, Aug. 9, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

Hua said he was satisfied with the overall performance of Chico, considering that it had not been long for him and horse to train together.

Hua said he expected the horse, which had primarily trained for jumping tests, will get better in cross-country and jumping parts of the eventing competitions.

Born in 1989 to a Chinese father and a British mother, the handsome young man started riding at the age of four and started training at the age of ten. Just four years later, he became a registered FEI at the unprecedented age of 14. He qualified for the Olympics as a Chinese rider.

With a promising prospect in a sport that has been new to China, Hua was widely recognized as "one in 1.3 billion" and compared to the 110-meter hurdler Liu Xiang.

His parents and other family members were in Hong Kong to watch his performance.

Cheng Qing, head of the Chinese Olympic equestrian team, said China was hoping for a breakthrough in eventing -- possibly by Hua -- as it was far behind the western riders in the disciplines of dressage and jumping.

China sent six riders and seven horses to compete in equestrian Olympics, with four of the riders in jumping, one in dressage. Hua was the best among them at No. 21 in the latest FEI world event rider rankings.

Source: Xinhua

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