History of Dressage at the Paralympics

The agitos as a symbol for the Paralympic Games
The agitos as a symbol for the Paralympic Games

As we said, activities in London are focused on the best ever Paralympic Games now.A giant set of Paralympic Agitos – the symbol for the Paralympic Games – has been launched outside Cardiff City Hall. This is the first of five sets of Agitos that will be unveiled before the Games start in ten days on 29 August.The agitos as a symbol for the Paralympic Games, meaning something like getting the flow and encouraging and sharing together, in front of Cardiff City Hall are 13m-long and 8m-high. The Agitos will provide a stunning backdrop for Cardiff's Paralympic Torch Relay celebrations today. Weighing in at one tonne, they are made entirely of aluminium and have a powder-coat finish in the recognisable red, blue and green colours, colours recognisable in the most flags of the world.

Equestrian events first appeared on the Paralympic programme at the 1984 Games held in Stoke Mandeville and New York, and have featured at every Games since Atlanta 1996. In Sydney riders competed with borrowed horses. Equestrian for the disabled is rapidly growing every four year. "Now when almost all nations have embedded the riding for the disabled in their national equestrian organisations, this will even grow more rapidly", Hanneke Gerritsen comments. She is the Technical Delegate in London. She also thinks that the system in different Grades will develop in the next Olympiad or two. Classification is a unique element of Paralympic sports, intended to ensure fair competition. As each sport at the Paralympic Games requires different skills and competencies, the impact of impairment on the performance of the athletes varies. That's why each sport has its own unique classification rules.

Technical delegate Hanneke Gerritsen shows the specific care and eye for details, even visible in the London skyline at the innerside of her beautiful London jacket Picture Claartje van Andel
Technical delegate Hanneke Gerritsen shows the specific care and eye for details, even visible in the London skyline at the innerside of her beautiful London jacket Picture Claartje van Andel

The Program
This is the actual program of London 2012. Athletes compete in three Dressage tests where they have to perform a series of pre-determined movements which differ by grade and ability: a Team Test (with three to four riders per team), an Individual Championship Test, and a Freestyle Test, for which athletes choose their own movements in their own order and music. Through the tests, horse and rider must be in harmony, and the overall picture must be of lightness and rhythm. This is not different of dressage we know for the abled.

History
A total of 1,513 female athletes will compete across 18 sports in London, which is more than double the 700 female athletes who took part in the Barcelona 1992 Games two decades ago!

At the Atlanta 1996 Games, 790 female athletes took part, followed by 990 at Sydney 2000, 1,165 at Athens 2004 and 1,383 at Beijing 2008.

Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said: 'The Paralympic Movement has made great strides in recent years in regards to the inclusion of female athletes. This has allowed for greater gender equity and a fair chance for anyone to compete in Paralympic sport at the most elite level.'

A record 4,200 athletes from 166 countries will compete at London 2012 Paralympic Games. So far more than 2.1 million tickets have been sold, and a further 400,000 are expected to go on sale before the Games start in ten days.

Find complete schedules and more news at the website of the London Paralympic Games www.london2012.com




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