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Ajai Appachu

Equestrian. Showjumper. Leadher.

In this edition of Leadhers Showcase, we are so so proud to feature a world class sportsman who is putting India on the world map. The man with a “never quit“ attitude. Meet, read and get to know Ajai Appachu, Eklavya Award Winner, in his exclusive interview for Leadhers.

Hi, my name is Ajay Appachu. I have Evented and Showjumped for India. I represented India in Eventing at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and finished 6th in the individual category. However, I am a passionate Showjumper and am pursuing it. I won the FEI World Show Jumping Championship 3 times in a row on 3 different horses.I was selected to represent India in Seoul, South Korea for Show Jumping in an International CSI 1*. The Indian team won silver and I won the individual gold for India.I also got selected twice to represent India for the World Show Jumping Finals in both Venezuela, South America and Kyalami, South Africa. I was awarded the Eklavya Award. This was just a good start to a new beginning.Another prestigious event I qualified for and representing India was the ‘World Championship for Young Horses’ in Lanaken, Belgium. I not only qualified on three different horses but was the only rider to have ever qualified.

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On being an Equestrian

How did you take up an offbeat sport ?

My father , Maj Gen CJ Appachu, AVSM (Retd) gave me an insight into a lot of sports at a very young age, that has held me in good stead in everything I pursued.


Starting from football where I captained the West Zone Team and also played for the East Zone Team whilst still in school. Side by side I also swam for SAI (Sports Authority of India)Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi. I also learnt a fair bit of gymnastics there. Thereafter, when I was in Senior School I was selected to play cricket for CAB (Cricket Association of Bengal). It was clearly evident by then that my talent and interest was in sports.


My life took a complete turn when my father introduced me to Horse Riding- that was when I fell in love with the sport and there was no going back from that point on. Equestrian sports is an extremely popular sport world wide. It is a highly recognised Olympic sport as well. Unfortunately in India most sports apart from cricket are not recognised. This would hopefully change in the near future.

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On gender diversity

How would you encourage girls to take up Equestrian as a sport?

Equestrian is the only sport which has no distinction between men and women , horses and mares. Girls and boys compete and train in equal terms. There is no difference between them and and in every category / level they compete together against one another and also as team mates.

 
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Talking about passion

How do you stay motivated?

I am passionate about horses. My love for this sport and horses is what keeps me motivated.