| Fadhil Yunus |
PENGIRAN Mohd Nasir Pengiran Anak Ja’afar reached a new milestone for Brunei Darussalam after bagging a gold medal in the bronze category of the Competition Showjumping International (CSI) 2-Star International Event in Oliva, Spain.
The Belgian-based touring rider and his horse Rudolf Z stood alone at the top with their nearest challenger Christiane Boos of Germany and her horse Cessna Lux coming in second place. Stephanie Bichsel of Switzerland and her horse RDC Atletico were ranked third.
The historic win meant that it was the first time that a Brunei national anthem was played at a European CSI competition. This is Pengiran Mohd Nasir’s first competition in over four months since taking a break from show jumping.
In an interview with the Bulletin, he said: “I was the first few riders to go and I managed to clock in a very fast clear round. Rudolf jumped amazingly.
“This win is a sign of good things to come. Despite my long break away from the saddle, my horses and I are working very well together.
“Europe is home to the best riders in the world and European CSIs are ranked amongst the most competitive in the world.
“It is an honour to be one of the few Asians out here representing Brunei and achieving such a big result.”
The other Asians countries that are currently in action at the ongoing European series include Hong Kong, South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
Asked about his preparations for the SEA Games in Singapore, he said it is going better than expected.
“I’m always up for the challenge. I’m always prepared for something,” added the Bruneian rider.
The European scene has long proven to be a difficult stretch for the Asian riders with only a handful of names tasting success.
Meanwhile, his coach Lieven Devos of Belgium commended his star pupil especially after missing out on the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
“He always has good results in Europe and winning is very exceptional. No matter how hard the level is it is always difficult to win.”
“We all know of his talents but I will never expect that they will be playing the Brunei national anthem. It is beyond expectations and if anyone ask me that they will be playing the Brunei national anthem they are crazy”.
Pg Nasir’s absence from the Asian Games triggered an international outpouring of support among the horse riding community.
“After the Asian Games chapter he was very depressed. And when he came back here he was very motivated which every sportsman should have in their arsenal. He has been very strong and it is very satisfying to hear.”
“He has a chance to beat the European riders. He has confirmed that he can truly compete against the best”.
Lieven said that the duo have been training for the best part of two years and feels that Pg Nasir has the potential to make a name in the Olympics.
“He has shown that he can qualify for the Olympics but he needs backing and full support from his home country,” the coach added.