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International equestrian: 27-year-old Hua Tian is China's only Olympic competitor in discipline

Reporter: Damion Jones 丨 CCTV.com

11-17-2016 15:51 BJT

To jump in the saddle with one of the leading riders on the equestrian circuit. Hua Tian, also known as Alex Hua, is the only competitor currently representing China on the international level, and is coming off a Top Eight finish in individual eventing at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The London-born 27-year-old became a Chinese citizen a decade ago, and has now participated in two of the past three Summer Games.

Hua Tian, or Alex Hua, has been influenced by both his Chinese father and British mother. And he followed in his mom's footsteps by taking up equestrian at the age of four, embarking on a ride into the record books.

When the London native was just 14 in 2004, he became the FEI's youngest competitor. Within three years, he had attained Chinese citizenship, and reached four-star status in the sport.

Hua then took time off from his studies at Eton College to prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As a representative of the host country, he only needed to hit the minimum cutoff to qualify, but did much more, as his ranking climbed to 21st in the world, and the then-18-year-old became the youngest equestrian rider in the history of the Summer Games.

Additional acclaim followed, as Hua won the Best Under-25 Competitor Prize at the 2009 Belheim International Horse Trials, as well as the HSBC Rising Star Award. That honor was presented in Copenhagen by the FEI's President, Princess Haya of Jordan, at a ceremony considered to be the sport's version of the Oscars. He then qualified for but did not participate in the 2010 World Questrian Games.

Two years later he fell short of returning to the Olympic stage at London 2012, but atop his mount Don Geniro rebounded in impressive fashion this past summer, by reaching the finals and placing eighth at the Rio Games.

And with his list of accomplishments only getting longer, the 27-year-old Chinese equestrian competitor believes his unique ride will continue, for a long time to come.

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