Five women were rewarded for their outstanding contribution to equestrianism at the FEI Awards ceremony on Monday 14 November in the superb setting of Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Palace Hotel. Adelinde Cornelissen (NED) was crowned Reem Acra Best Athlete. The dressage world remembers quite well that Cornelissen travelled to the Las Vegas WC Final not to compete due to an injury. After her huge successes at the EC in Hickstead 2009, another far travel to Lexington Kentucky in 2010 was rewarded with a team gold medal in 2010, however Cornelissen herself had to leave the Grand Prix arena early in the test due to visible blood in the mouth of Jerich Parzival. But finally this year success has continued to smile on the talented young Dutchwoman.
The Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2010/2011 series proved to be a spectacular season for Adelinde and her powerful chestnut gelding Jerich Parzival. The Dutch duo won all five qualifiers they competed in before dancing to victory to the sound of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite at the Final in Leipzig (GER).
At the FEI European Dressage Championships in August, she carried off the Individual Freestyle and the Individual Grand Prix Special titles in front of the elated crowd in Rotterdam. At the moment she is dressage rider number one leading the World rankings.
The title took Adelinde by surprise "I feel flattered, astonished, amazed, happy! ", she said at the Gala occasion were the prize was rewarded.
Adelinde Cornelissen is a true example for all the girls who are dedicated to live their dreams with horses. Even when not born in a wealthy family, dedication and perseverance are the important decisive skills to reach for your dream to become better and better and finally also reach the highest in sports. She is a true example for the bond and harmony with her horse, which she never has let down and in which she has always believed.
All-Female Line-up of Winners for FEI Awards in Rio
Commenting on the winners, FEI President Princess Haya said: "Equestrianism is one of the only sports in which men and women compete as equals and we are proud of that. But the accomplishments, dedication, determination and courage of our winners really stood out among the many nominations – male and female – that we received. Adelinde, Alice, Nina, Meg and Soraya are an example and an inspiration to the entire equestrian community."
Other Prize winners were:
- Soraya Ourrais (FRA/MAR) Development Award
- Nina Lamsam Ligon (THA/USA) HSBC Rising Star Award
- Alice Gaillard (FRA) Best Groom Award
- Meg Wade (AUS) Against All Odds Award