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September 24, 2000
Anees rejoices despite lossThe Rediff Team
For 29-year-old Imtiaz Anees, finishing last in the individual three-day event in Sydney was not important -- the fact that he got to compete against the odds was.
Three years ago, Anees left his family behind in India and moved to Australia to chase an Olympics berth in the equestrian event. He got his wish just 24 hours before the start of the gruelling competition.
Equestrian is an expensive sport and, thus far, only members of the military have been able to indulge in it, in India. Anees opted to fly solo, and found in Australia the kind of help he needed to overcome conditions that, in India, would have been insurmountable. Various coaches including former Australian Olympian Barry Roycroft came forward to help, three sponsors pitched in with support, and other riders in the event gave him some of the gear he needed for the ride.
On the day the Games opened in Sydney, Anees' name was not on the equestrian programme. He was in fact told only late on Monday that his entry had gone through, for the three-day race that ended on Friday with the Indian rider in last position.
Now it is time to come back, since his visa has expired -- but Anees hopes to return to Australia, chasing his next dream. To wit -- Athens 2004.
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