China's Alex Hua Tian Is a Team of One...One in 1.3 Billion!

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Alex

Hua Tian didn't have to endure the stress of selection trials to earn his place on the Chinese Equestrian Team for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. He didn't have to stand out before the team selectors, or compare points with other riders, or worry about which horse might be chosen.

Alex is the team.

In fact, he is the only eventing competitor that China has ever had. And it's not that he's the only Chinese national who wants to be an eventer--he's good enough to be at the top of the world. In 2009, Alex received the inaugural HSBC Rising Star accolade at the prestigious FEI Awards. The FEI called him "one of equestrianism?s brightest hopes for the future."

In 2008, Alex became the first Chinese event rider to compete at the Olympics ? at the tender age of 18. He bore the enormous pressure of huge media interest around the world--he was described in the Chinese press as ?one in 1.3 billion?--extremely well, and rode with flair and maturity in Hong Kong.

He was also the youngest competitor from any nation. Now 20, Alex has qualified to be the first Chinese event rider to compete at a World Equestrian Games. He qualified for WEG by finished seventh at Blenheim Horse Trials in Great Britain.

?I?ve had an incredible two years--the Olympics was an experience I will never forget,? said Alex recently. ?I'm very grateful for all the support I?ve received, and look forward to achieving more of my goals this year. My ambition is to bring this thrilling sport to more people in China and throughout Asia.?

Alex was born in London to a Chinese father and an English mother, and started riding at the age of four in Beijing and later Hong Kong. His family moved to Wiltshire in England when he was 11, and he started training with Australian Olympic event riders Lucinda and Clayton Fredericks.

Alex and his family now live in Wiltshire. He's deferred the remainder of his education until after the 2012 Olympics, which will be conveniently held in London. However, don't expect him to be lonely under the Chinese flag for long. Equestrian sports are exploding in popularity in China, and elite athletes are sure to make the grade in more FEI sports, including eventing.

Endurance, in particular, seems to catch the imagination and interests of the Chinese. The first endurance ride under FEI rules was run at Bayanbulak Swan Lake in Xinjiang's Hejing region of Chinese Mongolia last week.

It won't be long! Alex is still waiting for the final word that he and his horse will be flying over next month; China has been on the list of countries that intends to compete and Alex has certainly qualified but the final decision from Beijing is still pending.

You're reading a story from DiscoverWEG with Fran Jurga, a blog about the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which will be held September 25 to October 10 at the Kentucky Horse Park outside Lexington, Kentucky. The direct address for this blog is www.discoverweg.com. You can subscribe to the blog's RSS feed by clicking on the icon at the top right of this page; headlines are also posted on Facebook at the DiscoverHorses.com Page. DiscoverWEG is just one component of the Discover Horses support web site for the Games. Make Discoverhorses.com your go-to WEG destination site!

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