Equestrian PH Riders Win Silver At The FEI Asian Equestrian Championships!
The team composed of Colin Syquia, Joker Arroyo, and Toni Leviste made an "almost impossible" win at the prestigious event, and in the end, became a magnificent showcase of Filipino talent in the sport
Pattaya, Thailand—Just when the Equestrian Philippines, Inc. team thought that defeat was inevitable (and indeed, it looked that way until the last heart-stopping moments), a delicious twist of fate interceded and allowed them to finish at second place, earning the Philippines a silver medal at the first-ever FEI Asia Championships.
"It was almost impossible, but God was on our side today," declared an Instagram post showing the Philippine team's riders proudly standing on the podium with their well-deserved medals.
There to enjoy their victory and shine the spotlight on Philippine equestrian talent were the three-rider team composed of veteran equestrians Joker Arroyo, Toni Leviste, and Colin Syquia.
Below is how they, despite disadvantages, came out as winners and why they deserve all our praises and more:
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News from @acpattaya_2019 FEI Asian Equestrian Championships in Pattaya... Team Philippines wins a well earned and hard fought for SILVER MEDAL 🥈 in team jumping!!! Coming from behind on the third day of the event, and at a disadvantage with a team of only three riders instead of the usual four, without benefit of a drop score, the team of Colin Syquia @eurasiainc , Toni Leviste @levisteequestrianpark_leep , and Joker Arroyo @jokeraarroyo rode their hearts out to finish against a field of super strong Asian riders. It was almost impossible, but God was on our side today. A huge congratulations also to Team Hong Kong for the top class riding that made them the runwway winners for the gold 🥈, and Team Kuwait for the bronze medal 🥉
As the championships were coming to a close, the Philippine team's confidence in themselves was running low.
They were behind Uzbekistan, the country vying for bronze, by 8.17 faults, which meant that only a miracle could help them catch up and surpass their Central Asian contenders. Joker, Colin, and Toni watched from the sidelines as other teams had their time in the ring while knowing that the single way to qualify for a medal was to ride seamlessly, perfectly, with absolutely no room for error.
As if that weren't enough, there was added pressure in the fact that they were only a three-person team, as opposed to the typical four; having four riders allows the lowest score to be discarded, whereas being a team of three means that all riders must perform at their best, at all times.
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Good luck to Colin Syquia @eurasiainc and Toni Leviste @levisteequestrianpark_leep tomorrow as they proceed to the individual jumping final of the FEI Asian Championships Pattaya 2019. While also qualified for the individual final, Joker Arroyo @jokeraarroyo has opted not to start Ubama Alia and instead preserve her well being, in consideration of the fact that the mare had already contributed to the team score that yielded a silver medal. We thank Joker and Ubi for rising to the occasion and coming through for the team given the extreme challenges they had faced along the way. Photos courtesy of Yong Teck Lim and Arnold Subastian
Colin was the first to compete, come the Philippines' turn.
With bated breath, his teammates watched him perform a magnificent routine, their tense breathing transformed into enthusiastic cheers and applause. Colin had given his teammates a much-needed boost in morale, and by the time Joker had showed off her skills, the Philippines had regained its place in the running for a medal.
“It was a long shot, but we didn’t let that discourage us from trying," commented Toni.
“We caught up after Colin’s and my round, and it was clear that we were hot on their heels, even we couldn’t believe it,” Joker said of the moment they had surpassed Uzbekistan.
Surprised as they were to have been in the running for bronze, the odds proved to be on their side once again as Kuwait experienced a stroke of bad luck in the ring; a Kuwaiti rider incurred an unexpected 10 faults during his turn, subsequently putting Kuwait behind the Philippines.
Kuwait's loss proved to be a huge win for the Philippines, and combined with Joker, Toni, and Colin's mastery of the sport, the series of fortunate events awarded them with coveted silver medals—an almost impossible win indeed, but one meant for them, after all.
Hong Kong came home with the gold, a win that Equestrian PH also made sure to highlight with their gracious congratulations.
Despite Joker, Toni, and Colin's experience in many other international competitions in and outside Asia, Equestrian PH did not participate in equestrian sports at the 30th SEA Games due to the lack of quarantine protocols in countries that competing horses would be originating from and returning to.
Equestrian PH Inc. is home to some of the country's most experienced equestrians and is on a mission to train emerging Filipino riders to become world-class equestrians able to compete on a global scale.
Photos courtesy of Equestrian PH / Additional images from @jokerarroyo