Jacqueline Lai brought the crowd inside AsiaWorld Expo to its feet in 2016 when she matched her skills against the world’s best show jumpers. Having a home-town hero to cheer lifted the atmosphere to a whole new level.
Twelve months later on, Lai cannot wait to get back in the saddle and show her fans how far she has come as a show jumper.
“Last year’s Longines Masters was an experience I will never forget and it gave me confidence that I can compete against the best,” said the 25-year-old. “Hearing the crowd cheering me on really was something special. To see a Hong Kong rider out there competing against all these world-famous athletes was great for the sport in this city and it was a great honor for me. I am so proud and happy to come back and have the opportunity to do even better this year.”
Lai has established herself as one of Hong Kong’s most promising show jumpers, having played her part on the history-making bronze medal-winning team at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games – the city’s break-through result at a major international event.
Lai then made a remarkable recovery from a career-threatening fall in 2011, and now has her sights firmly set on once again representing her city in the world’s major equestrian events – including the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
But first comes the Longines Masters – and the chance once again to thrill the local fans.
“To hear them all get behind me was a fantastic feeling and I want to get out there and do my best for them once again,” she said.