FEI Open and European Para-Equestrian Dressage Championships Preview
RELEASE: August 20, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Cecilie Wendel
The FEI Open and European Para-Equestrian Dressage Championships began on Wednesday, August 19, marking a historic achievement for Norway as it will be the first time a European equestrian Championship is held on Norwegian soil, and also the first time a European summer sport championship is held there.
The event takes place at the Epona Riding Centre, established in 2005 and near Kristiansand on the south coast of Norway, providing a magnificent backdrop for the event. Cato Zahl Pedersen, an intrepid adventurer, and Paralympic multi-medalist is Honorary President of the Championships, reinforcing the message that the impossible is possible.
“The event is an important milestone, and I hope this is the start of a tradition where we lead the way on integrating the disabled.”
The start lists reveal 80 of the world’s top riders from 22 countries, including most of last year’s Paralympic medalists, with both European and non-European riders vying for a good result. Indeed, the event will also serve a qualifier for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010 in Kentucky (USA), and considering that this is the first time para-equestrian dressage will be included in the format of the FEI World Equestrian Games, qualifying slots will be hotly disputed. The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games will host the World Championships in jumping, dressage, para-equestrian dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, reining and vaulting—making it the largest equestrian event in the world— September 25-October 10 next year.
Alongside the Open and European Championships, the If European Youth Challenge (IEYC) open to young riders will also be held, providing invaluable insight and experience to the next generation of athletes. To encourage National Federations to send their young riders to the competition, the Olympic Committee, together with the sponsor If., offered free entry to one qualified rider from each National Federation participating in the IEYC.
The complete list of competitors, results and schedule and more are available at www.paraem2009.no
You can also follow all the latest news on www.twitter.com/ParaEquestrian
For more information on para-equestrian dressage, go to www.fei.org