KNOKKE-HEIST – With the Tokyo Olympic Games only a few weeks away there is anticipation in the air in Knokke-Heist. The top three of the World Ranking list are all on the long list for Tokyo. All three riders competed at Knokke Hippique in week one. We managed to asked them how they are experiencing the road to Tokyo.
While Martin Fuchs (no. 3) was due to attend the prize giving ceremony of the 1.50m Grand Prix qualification, the number one, Daniel Deusser (GER), and the number two, Steve Guerdat (SUI), sat down with our press team. We asked the two gentlemen a few quick questions:
The international show calendar has changed quite a few times. Was Knokke Hippique always on the list for your road to Tokyo?
Steve: Yes, definitely. From the beginning of Knokke Hippique this show has been on my preferred show list. Whenever the schedule allows it, I attend. The show has excellent facilities for both the riders and the horses. The organization is super, and it is a top show overall.
Daniel: Of course! For me as a Stephex rider this is a very convenient show. Every one of our team is here and not just us, but all the riders can compete with lots of horses in all the different leagues.
Both of you are on the longlist for the Olympics to represent your countries. The eyes of the world are on you and your horses. How are you feeling with the Olympics coming ever closer?
Daniel: It is not my first time to be selected for the Olympics, so I know a little what to expect. My mind is set on having a strong and fit horse to compete with. Right now, my focus is on performing well here and the rest will come after.
Steve: The runup to the Olympics feel a bit different this time. The whole past year has been different really. For some reason Tokyo does not feel like it is just around the corner for me. But I have both of my long list horses here to prepare them and built them up towards the Olympics.
Steve you are on the longlist for Tokyo with two horses, Venard de Cerisy & Victorio des Frotards. Can you tell us a bit about them and why you might prefer one to the other?
Steve: Venard de Cerisy is my first choice. He is a very strong horse, and he has been successful most of the time. It will be his first major Championship. However, he did not perform on top of his game the past two shows. So, it is up to me to find out why and bring him back to top form, hopefully here in Knokke. It we get it right there is a good chance to perform well.
Daniel you are also a strong contender for the German team. If you are selected, it will be your second time at the Olympics. With the experience you have, are there things you will do differently this time in the run-up in terms of preparation for yourself and your horse Killer Queen VDM?
Daniel: I’ve been to the Olympics once before. But everything is different this year. And I expect the Olympics will be too. I started showing in Wellington in the beginning of this year with Killer Queen. When we came back, she got a couple of weeks off but now we have to really get going again. I hope we will be able to show we are on our A-game this Sunday in the Grand Prix.
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