China secures equestrian participation at 2020 Summer Olympics
Li Xiang
Equestrian. /VCG Photo

Equestrian. /VCG Photo

Two Chinese riders, Sun Huadong and Bao Yingfeng, passed MER (minimum eligibility requirements) after finishing the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) four-star (long) eventing contest held by Pratoni del Vivaro in Italy between November 14 and 17.

There were in total 29 pairs that attended the contest. Six pairs failed to finish the competition, four pairs did not pass MER. The remaining 19 pairs, including Sun and his Lady Chin V't Moerven Z, Bao and his Tesco, passed MER.

This means that China will participate in four equestrian events at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. For the first time, Chinese riders will appear in individual and team competitions for both eventing and show jumping.

In a letter of congratulations, the Chinese Equestrian Association (CEA) praised Sun and Bao's efforts and recognized their performance of following the Olympic motto of "faster, higher and stronger."

Equestrian. /VCG Photo

Equestrian. /VCG Photo

In fact, Chinese riders had already qualified for eventing in Tokyo but according to FEI's rules, the country must have at least three riders passing MER before December 31, 2019 or China will lose its Olympic qualification for team competitions.

In order to secure the Olympic qualification, the CEA sent the riders overseas for specialized training. Everyone had to challenge the three-star (short), three-star (long), four-star (short) and four-star (long) contests in order.

On July 24, Hua Tian became the first to pass MER. On September 5, Liang Ruiji joined him. Then on November 17 (Sunday), Sun and Bao did it as well.

There are five steps to qualify before a rider can pass MER. One, first horse inspection after transportation; two, dressage; three, cross-country; four, second horse inspection after cross-country; five, show jumping. Failing in any step means failure to pass MER.