he Japanese Federation officially announced the team for the World Equestrian Game in Normandy! The team is as follows; Japan’s top-ranked rider Eiken Sato, Takashi Utsunomia, Tadahiro Hayashi and Taizo Sugitani. The Japanese Federation held a one shot selection trial in Ehlersdorf, Germany. The Japanese Federation selected the top four riders at that event.
About Eiken Sato
Olympian Eiken Sato, who was based in Belgium at Stephex Stables, is Japans top-ranking rider on the Longines World Rankings at 65th in the world. Sato is also one of the youngest riders in the world to represent his country at top level. He was just 18 years old when he competed in the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany on Cayak DH.
Two years later, Eiken Sato rode the same horse, Cayak DH, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But it was in 2010 that he proved beyond a doubt that the international show jumping community would need to take Sato seriously. A cool but daring jump-off round on his stallion PB Project Cartoon Z saw him win the seventh leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup jumping series – beating some of the world’s top riders.
Equestrian sport is part of Eiken Sato’s family heritage. Eiken Sato’s elder brother, Kenki, is a member of the Japanese Eventing team for the London Olympics. Both Eiken’s father and brother are practicing monks of the Buddhist faith.
Sato was born and raised in the secluded mountain village of Ogawa, in the temple compound Myōshō-ji. Eiken’s father Shōdō is the abbot of the local temple and also an international equestrian himself. He was nominated as a member of Japan’s equestrian team for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but was unable to compete due to the boycott of the Games by Japan. Japan, along with the US and Great Britain, as well as many other countries, boycotted the Olympic Games in 1980 due to Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan.
Sato’s sister Tae is a five-time winner of National Equestrian competitions and Sato credits Tae as the best rider of all three siblings.