The Equestrian Federation of India has picked Anush Agarwalla to represent the country at the upcoming Paris Games in Dressage event after he pipped close contender Shruti Vora on better average.

Agarwalla will thus become the first-ever Indian to compete in Dressage at the Olympics.

The 2022 Asian Games gold medallist has been consistent since the qualification period began last year and achieved Minimum Eligibility Requirement four times, while veteran Shruti Vora earned the required two MERs this month.

When an average was taken out of the contenders in the assessment, Anush emerged winner. He had an average score of 67.695 % which was better than Shruti’s 67.163 %.

As per the criteria set by the Federation, a rider-horse combination is required to achieve a minimum of 67% twice between January 1, 2023 and June 24, 2024 to be eligible for the Paris Games qualification.

According to Equestrian Federation of India’s selection criteria, if more than one athlete is eligible to represent the country, then the athlete with the highest average in Grand Prix out of the best four events in the past one year shall be chosen to participate.

Scores at only FEI level competitions 3 and above are counted. These scores have to be achieved at shows from 2023 to 2024 list of Minimum Eligibilty Requirement events.

Vora, with horse Magnanimous, had earned her second Minimum Eligibility Requirement of the year at the Brno Grand Prix in Czech Republic, where she scored 68.174 in the Dressage event, there by becoming eligible for Olympic qualification.

Vora had earned her first eligibility requirement early this month when she became the first Indian rider to win a three-star Grand Prix event Dressage World Cup, held in Lipica, Sloevania with 67.761.

Her other two GP performances had scores of 66.543 % and 66.174 % which were below MER level.

Agarwalla, meanwhile, achieved the eligibility requirements four times – 67.936% (Wiesbaden, May 2024), 68.261 % (December 2023 in Mechelen), 67.152 % (December 2023 in Frankfurt), and 67.804 % (October 2023 in Wroclaw).