The eventing competition for the Asian Games at Sport City in Doha was interrupted after South Korean rider Kim Hyung Chil suffered a fatal accident at the eighth fence — called the sheep fold — and was crushed under his mount, Bundaberg Black.
Kim, 47, was the 11th rider out on the course and had a rotational fall. He died from multiple skull fractures and severe bleeding.
Kim, who left a wife and two children, had won the Individual silver medal on Bundaberg Black at the 14th Asian Games held in Busan, Korea, in 2002.
The Korean team withdrew from the competition.
The course was considered to be technical, but well within the rules of a one-star competition such as the Asian Games.
A full mandatory investigation was conducted and a report from the Technical Delegate for Eventing, Andrew Griffiths (GBR), examined all aspects of the accident in respect to the course and conditions. Reporting together with Oliver Holberg (GER), technical footing expert appointed by the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee (DAGOC) and the FEI, Griffiths said that at the time of the accident, weather conditions were stable, and it was not raining.
“The footing on the approach and the landing for the entire course was checked by me as Technical Delegate and Oliver Holberg, technical footing expert appointed by DAGOC and the FEI. Mr Holberg is also the footing expert for the course of the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong and one of the most respected footing experts in the world.
“Obstacle 8 measured 1.08 meters and was one of the smallest on the course. It was a straight-forward ascending fence built of solid material, which is normally considered a non-problematic, relatively easy fence.
“Mr Kim, 47 years old, was a very experienced rider and had represented Korea in previous Olympics and Asian Games.
“The horse approached the obstacle and essentially got too close to the jump before taking off, resulting in a somersault type of fall with the full weight of the horse landing on top of the rider on the other side of the fence. The rider was probably dead on impact. The horse sustained only minor injuries.
“The emergency services were on hand immediately and every effort was made to help the rider, but unfortunately, nothing could be done.
“In my professional opinion, neither the weather nor the footing had any bearing on this accident. No blame can be assigned to any individual factor. This is just a tragic accident that happens in our sport from time to time.
“An independent ad hoc inquiry committee consisting of Olympic gold medallist, Andrew Hoy (AUS), Course Designer Pierre Michelet (FRA), footing expert Oliver Holberg, and Grand Jury President Nicoli Fife (NZL) concurred with the above opinions.”