Fifteen Para-Equestrians Secure London 2012 Training Grants

Fifteen Para-Equestrians from five different countries have secured a share of a €25,500 London 2012 training grant from Eurovestech plc, the pan-European development capital fund.  Three riders from Hong Kong, Israel, New Zealand, Poland and Russia will use the grants to fund their training, with London 2012 Paralympic qualification as their major goal.

The grants were launched in July this year to support Para-Equestrians from nations where funding is limited and who have not won medals at the Paralympics, World Championships or World Equestrian Games since 2004.

New Zealand’s Frances Dick, who is aiming to compete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, is delighted to be awarded a training grant. “My dream of bringing home a medal from the London 2012 Paralympics has just got a whole lot closer and the grant comes at a time when funding is critical in the countdown to 2012.”

Frances Dick will this week join fellow New Zealanders Joanna Jackson and Rachel Stock, who have also received Eurovestech training grants, at the Oceania team qualifier for London 2012 in Victoria (AUS) on 9-10 December, when New Zealand will go head-to-head with Australia to secure a team place (four athletes and four horses) in Greenwich.

The International Paralympic Committee last week ranked Paralympic Equestrian fourth on its “hottest” Paralympic sports to watch list. Spectator numbers for Paralympic Equestrian hit a record 40,000 even before remaining tickets went on sale last Friday (2 December).

“The grants are a welcome boost for these highly talented Para-Equestrian athletes who are training intensely for the London 2012 Paralympic Games,” said Chief Executive Officer of the International Paralympic Committee Xavier Gonzalez. “The IPC is looking forward to seeing riders representing a wide range of nations in London.”

The fifteen athletes who have received the Eurovestech training grants are:

  • Hong Kong - Robert Arro, Janny Ma, Natasha Tse
  • Israel - Yonathan Dressler, Omer Ben Dor, Amit Hasdai
  • New Zealand - Joanna Jackson, Rachel Stock, Frances Dick
  • Poland - Mariusz Woszczek, Patrycja Gepner, Tomasz Zdankowski
  • Russia - Oleg Burmistrov, Anton Arkhireev, Maria Zagorskaya

Trond Asmyr, FEI Director of Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage also welcomed the announcement of successful grant applicants. “The training grants will help our Paralympic hopefuls to focus clearly on their goals as we count down to London 2012,” he said.

“The spectator numbers at the London 2012 Paralympics will be phenomenal, and are already considerably higher than at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic equestrian events in Hong Kong where there were 33,000 people. This is helping to spur on our Para-Equestrian athletes who have competed at several Games, and for those who will be competing for the first time it will be an unforgettable experience.”

About London 2012 Paralympic Games
On 31 January it will be known which nations have qualified to send teams and individuals to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and by 6 August 2012 these nations will have made their individual and team selections. 

A total of 78 athletes will compete in 11 medal events at the London 2012 Paralympic Games between 30 August and 4 September in Greenwich Park.

The London 2012 Paralympic Games competition schedule and procedures, including qualification, rankings and appointed officials, can be found here.

About Para-Equestrian Dressage
In 2006, the FEI became one of the first International Federations to govern and regulate a sport for disabled athletes when Para-Equestrian Dressage joined the ranks of the seven disciplines the FEI regulates.

Para-Equestrian Dressage is the only equestrian discipline that is included in the Paralympic Games, where it has been a regular fixture since Atlanta 1996.

Photo caption: New Zealand’s Frances Dick, one of 15 international Para-Equestrians to secure Eurovestech training grants in the countdown to London 2012. Image: Equestrian Sports New Zealand.