KUALA LUMPUR – An unknown rider burst into the limelight to win the gold medal in the individual showjumping event of the 29th Southeast Asian Games equestrian competition at the 3Q Equestrian Center in Rawang.
The 46-year old Florida-based John Colin Syquia and his mount, Adventure E, survived the grueling 36-hour of travel from Florida to New York to Amsterdam to Baku just to win the Philippines’ 23rd gold medal here and the first mint in equestrian since the Palembang biennial meet in 2011.
He was tied with five other riders after the second round, but was a runaway winner in the jump-off with 37.63 seconds to win the gold medal over Malaysians Sharmini Christina Ratnasingham (41.30 seconds) and Dato’ Seri Mahamad Fathil, Qabi Ambak (41.66 seconds).
Ratnasingham was on board Arcado while Ambak used 3Q Qaliya.
“This (gold) is very special because this is my first time to compete in the SEA Games,” said Syquia, a professional equestrian and horse dealer who participates in shows and derbies in Wellington, Florida.
Team manager Daniella Virata said Syquia is “a cool guy with rock star personality.”
“He is our rock star here,” said Virata of Syquia, who began riding at Claremonth Academy. “We call him our secret weapon.”
“He is a cool guy with good personality. He gave us six clear rounds; three in individuals and three in team event.”
Syquia was also part of the team that settled for the silver medal together with Chiara Sophia Amor, Joker Arroyo and Toni Leviste.