Pak rider Usman Khan refuses to change horse's name

Updated: Feb 10, 2020, 09:29 IST | PTI | Karachi

Usman, 38, who is based out of Australia said he had got the name of his horse registered in April 2019

Pakistani rider Usman Khan and his horse Azad Kashmir have secured a spot in the eventing discipline at the Tokyo Olympics
Pakistani rider Usman Khan and his horse Azad Kashmir have secured a spot in the eventing discipline at the Tokyo Olympics

Karachi: Usman Khan, the first Pakistani equestrian to qualify for the Olympics, has maintained that he will not change the name of his horse from Azad Kashmir, saying it was a trivial issue for him. Indian Olympic officials are reportedly seeking legal advice on whether the name represents a political statement. "It's a trivial issue really. My intentions are very clear. The horse was not named in response to the lockdown in Indian Kashmir," Usman told the 'Dawn' newspaper.

Usman, 38, who is based out of Australia said he had got the name of his horse registered in April 2019. "Isn't that quite some time before the lockdown," he asked. Usman, who very well knows that he has courted controversy in politically sensitive times, wants to cash in on this opportunity and get a sponsor for himself and his horse Azad Kashmir so that they can take part in the quadrennial extravaganza. "I'm looking for sponsors to bear the cost of taking me and Azad Kashmir to the Tokyo Olympics and this will only help our cause."

Usman said the original name of the horse was Here to Stay. "But after purchasing it, I renamed it as I have done with most of the horses in my stable. This name change cost $1000," said Usman, who has named all his horses after beautiful areas of Northern Pakistan.

"Giving them those names help me foster my connection with my Motherland," said Usman, who had also qualified for the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games but could not travel due to a lack of funding.

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