More than 70 riders from over 20 countries will compete for the medals in this year’s Para equestrian competition at Tokyo 2020. Among them will likely be one of the Games’ most enduring athletes, a strong possibility of a triple-triple, and the sport’s newest overall world No. 1 rider.
Jens Lasse Dokkan (NOR)
Dokkan is the only Para equestrian rider to have competed at every Paralympic Games since Atlanta 1996, when the sport was introduced. He is the current European champion in grade I and dominated his grade with international wins through 2019 and early 2021.
Roxannne Trunnell (USA)
Trunnell is the current world No. 1 across all grades. She made her first global championship podium at the World Equestrian Games in 2018, picking up a bronze in the grade I freestyle, and has since gone from strength to strength winning countless three-star competitions in the US. She currently holds the world record score for the individual test, a mammoth 83.334%.
©Taylor Pence/US Equestrian
Tobias Thorning Joergensen (DEN)
Joergensen was the breakthrough star of the 2019 European Championships, picking up two gold medals in the grade III competition, better than his silver at the 2017 competition. The young rider is making his Games debut in Tokyo but will enter the Paralympics having won his grade at the 2021 Waregem international in Belgium.
Georgia Wilson (GBR)
Grade II’s Wilson burst onto the scene at the 2019 European Championships. It was her first major championships, and she picked up two silvers and gold in the freestyle competition. Wilson is a fresh face to grace the British squad that has a strong history of success in the sport.
Heidemarie Dresing (GER)
Dresing is determined to make her first Paralympic Games appearance in Tokyo at 66 years old. She fell short of the podiums at the 2019 Europeans in the freestyle and individual events, but has continued competing, winning four events at three-star competitions since and moving up to third in the grade II rankings.
Sho Inaba (JPN)
An emerging talent on the Para equestrian scene, 26-year-old Inaba will make his Paralympic Games debut in Tokyo. Towards the end of 2019 Inaba scored a number of victories at three-star level in Japan’s Gotemba competition, and he managed a top 10 finish at 2018’s World Equestrian Games. He hopes to leave a lasting legacy for the sport in his country.
©Japanese Equestrian Federation
Sanne Voets (NED)
It could rain gold for grade IV’s Voets, who stands on the brink of achieving a medal record not achieved since the early 2000s. She is the current reigning World and European team, individual, and freestyle champion; those same three titles in Tokyo would give her the elusive triple-triple of golds. She won pretty much every competition she entered in 2019, and has repeated that feat at the start of 2021.
Rodolpho Riskalla (BRA)
Waiting in the wings to rain on Voets’ parade, however, is Riskalla. The 36-year-old finished just behind her at the 2018 World Equestrian Games and had impressive results throughout 2019. Early 2021 saw Riskalla pick up wins at three-star international level, including at the popular Al Shaqab competition in Doha, Qatar. He made his Paralympic debut in Rio 2016, having been a contender for an Olympic place before contracting bacterial meningitis in 2015.
Natalia Martyanova (RPC)
Martyanova has been competing in Para sport since 2006 and has been a regular podium finisher at three-star competitions across Europe. She made her championship debut two years ago and this will be her first Paralympic Games, where she hopes this time to finish atop the grade V podium.
Kevin Van Ham (BEL)
Grade V’s Van Ham will make his Paralympic debut in Tokyo, following his impressive first major Championship appearance at Rotterdam’s 2019 Europeans, where he placed fifth in the individual and freestyle competitions. Podium finishes followed in the first three-star international competitions of 2020 and in early 2021 too. Currently ranked eighth in grade V, a good performance in Tokyo could well see him in the race for the medals.