Usman Khan, who became the first equestrian in Pakistan’s history to qualify for the Olympics by achieving Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) for Tokyo 2020 aboard his previous horse Azad Kashmir in 2019, has encountered another serious setback on his troubled route to the Games. The 30-year-old suffered serious injuries in a fall only a few meters away from the finish line during a qualifying round in Australia aboard Kasheer, who had replaced his former mount Azad Kashmir following his sudden death in September 2020.

Kasheer (formerly Riverbreeze) an 11-year-old Australian-bred Warmblood gelding, caught his knee on the final cross-country fence in the CCI4*-S at Naracoorte Horse Trials and suffered a rotational fall, dying on the scene. The Australia-based Usman received serious injuries in the accident, including head trauma and bruised ribs.

Usman’s former ride Azad Kashmir was the centre of some political controversy over its name in 2019, which means ‘Free Kashmir,’ a disputed territory of Kashmir that is in Pakistan’s control.

“I am alive and so is Pakistan’s Olympic dream,” Usman told following the accident. He is awaiting direction from the FEI regarding how to proceed, as he had been asked to complete five MERs with Kasheer as a new combination, and had completed three events and they were on their way to winning the fourth when the accident occurred.

“We don’t have to start from scratch because I was able to get three MER with Kasheer, which means I might need far less MER now to qualify,” he speculated. Regardless of the new target he gets, he will have to achieve it before June 21st on a new 4* horse to retain his individual berth in the Olympics.

Usman had previously contacted the Government in Pakistan for some support after Azad Kashmir’s death, but no funding was offered.