Singapore and Japan are the only two Asian nations to qualify for the Para Dressage Team competition at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games this year.
With Japan qualifying as hosts, Singapore qualified for the competition as the top team in Asia.
Each country will be able to send up to four athletes to Tokyo. Joining the two Asian teams are Great Britain, The Netherlands, and Germany, who secured their places at FEI World Equestrian GamesTryon in 2018.
The other nations eligible for the team competition are the USA, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Australia, Austria and Russia. But Russia’s participation at the Games is yet to be confirmed due to the ongoing doping investigations.
The teams qualified by being either in the top seven teams in the International Equestrian Federation’s world rankings (apart from those three who qualified at WEG), or the top team in either Asia, Oceania, and the Americas.
The team competition in Tokyo will be a hotly contested. In the race for medals, USA who are currently ranked world number one, are expected to mount a strong challenge, while Denmark has significant talents on their team. Belgium will also be in with a shot as will a resurgent Australia and Austria.
The Netherlands, currently European and World champions, will be desperate to add Paralympic gold to their credentials, while the British will be aiming to defend the title, having won at every Paralympic Games since Para Dressage was introduced in Atlanta in 1996.
And in Tokyo, the team competition is given extra tension by changes to the format. The team medal will now be decided over two days by just three riders per country, from the usual four. The three competing riders would not be chosen until the Games itself and on completion of the individual titles on the first two days of competition.
Outside of the team competitions, a host of other nations have gained slots for up to two of their top athletes. The Games will see individual competitors coming from South Africa, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Latvia, and Brazil.
There’ll also be athletes from Norway, Finland, and Mexico in the mix too. Further individual allocations will also be made as the year progresses according to the rules of the bipartite commission.
The Para Dressage competition will be held at the Tokyo 2020 Equestrian Park from Thursday 27 to Monday 31 August. Names of athletes competing will be announced from mid-July, on completion of nations’ individual selection processes.