The International Equestrian Federation (Fédération Equestre Internationale, FEI) President has welcomed the announcement of the new dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which will run July 23-August 8, 2021, and for the Paralympic Games from August 24-September 5, 2021. The Olympic Games were recently postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The FEI is the sole controlling authority for all international events in the Olympic sports of jumping, dressage and eventing, as well as driving, endurance, vaulting and reining. The FEI became one of the first international sports governing bodies to govern and regulate global para sport alongside its seven able-bodied disciplines when para dressage joined its ranks in 2006. The FEI now governs all international competitions for para dressage and para driving.
“While it was of course demoralizing for everyone that the Games had to be postponed from their original dates in 2020, the decision was absolutely right in the current terrible global pandemic, but it is really good to have the new dates agreed so soon,” said Ingmar De Vos.
“The decision was taken in full consultation with all the International Federations, including the FEI, and we all had the opportunity to voice our opinions. Now, once the COVID-19 crisis is over, our athletes across both Games can get their training back on track with confidence, knowing exactly when they and their horse need to be at their peak.
“We are conscious of the fact that this has been a very complex decision for the IOC [International Olympic Committee] to make, with multiple factors to be taken into consideration. The athletes’ health and wellbeing across both Games, not just for equestrian sport, has to be the top priority, and we have all the protocols in place to protect our athletes–both human and equine–and help them to optimize their performance in the challenging climate we can expect in Tokyo.
“Of course, there will be an impact on the international calendar across all sports, and from an FEI perspective, this includes four major European Championships, but we are already looking at ways we can minimize that impact. The remit for our discipline-specific task forces that are evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 calendar has now been expanded to cover 2021, and now we have confirmed dates for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we need to explore possible alternatives for a number of major FEI events, notably the European Championships in jumping, dressage and para dressage, in Budapest, and the European Eventing Championships in Haras du Pin, France. This process will be started immediately.”
The five-discipline European Championships in Budapest, Hungary, which also include driving and vaulting, are currently due to run from August 23-30, 2021, and the Eventing Championships in Haras du Pin, France, from August 11-15.
“We need to also look at deadlines for obtaining minimum eligibility requirements and extending the deadline for registration of ownership for Olympic horses and will announce those as soon as possible, but we have had confirmation from both the IOC and IPC [International Paralympic Committee] that National Olympic and Paralympic Committees, which have been allocated Olympic or Paralympic quota places, will retain them despite the postponement of the Games to next year.”
For more information, visit www.fei.org.