By Yuri Karpenko
The Republican Olympic Equestrian and Breeding Centre in Ratomka, not far from Minsk, hosted events in three categories. Experienced riders performed in 3-star class events, competing for qualifying points for the London Olympics, while others enjoyed 1 and 2-star classes, aiming for European championships.
“At present, our thriathletes have a good chance of earning places at the Olympic Games,” notes state equestrian coach Natalia Yuranova. “They have just five stages of tournament at which points can be earned, with eight events in dressage and 25 others. We shouldn’t miss out and the whole team could even qualify. Anything might happen in the team competitions; we could even reach the top six.”
Major hopes are pinned on Yelena Telepushkina, Vyacheslav Poito and Alexander Fominov. Two stages have been already held, with Fominov coming fourth during the first and Telepushkina celebrating her success during the second. They planned to increase their scores at Ratomka. Ksenia Rybak was the fourth member of the Belarusian squad. She is daughter to famous Belarusian triathlete Mikhail Rybak, who took part in world and European championships, as well as in the Olympic Games. Last year, she rode for the junior team but is now competing against experienced riders. She has done well in earning qualifying scores.
World Cup events are organised in zones. This time, riders from Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Poland and the Baltic States arrived at Ratomka, with the major struggle seen between Belarus and Russia. Yelena Telepushkina and her horse Passat won, after confidently sailing through all events. Her victory was in no doubt, while Vyacheslav Poito came third, followed by Alexander Fominov.
“Of course, the results please us,” notes Ms. Yuranova. “Important scores have been earned, so our athletes have shown that they’re able to rise to the challenge. We’re also satisfied with the performances of our young athletes. They did well during their 1 and 2-star classes but we must be realistic, as much lies ahead.”