An 18-year-old farm boy from Harpal Ka Pura village in MP’s Bhind galloped to an equestrian gold in Paris.
The winner of the "eventing" cross-country one-star class in Grosbois, Paris, was farmer's son Raju Singh Bhadoria. According to Ramendra Singh, a class 12 student riding the horse Louk won gold with a penalty of 23. With penalties of 28 and 29, French racers Frederic Gremont and Alexia Russell Sauque claimed the final two spots on the podium.
When media called the softspoken Raju, he began with, “Kya bolun (what do I say)?” Coaxed to say how he prepared for the competition, he said: “My aim is always to keep winning medals for the country, wherever I compete. Keeping things simple helps me stay focused. That’s all I did. "
Raju is now training under French coach Regis Prudhon and preparing for the 19th Asian Games 2023. He is the youngest of four riders to make the Asiad cut. It all started in 2015 when Raju and his father Sujan Singh visited the boy’s maternal uncle, Arvind Singh, who works as a caretaker in the MP Equestrian Academy. He had remained in the village of Harpal Ka Pura in Bhind, around 500 km from Bhopal, up until that point. The academy appeared to the 11-year-old country lad to be "paradise." He proved to be a natural at horsemanship and was discovered at a talent hunt that year, according to Captain Bhagirath, the academy's head instructor.
The awards came in a gallop – including best rider, twice, at the national level, and Eklavya Award of MP government in 2020. In May 2022, Raju was chosen for specialized training under UK coaches and a ‘warmblood’ eventing horse was bought for him.