For Italian eventing 2016 is an emotional and busy year. A year that awaits an Olympic challenge, where the spotlight is on the eventing youngsters at Montelibretti at the Military Equestrian Centre (22/25 September) . “FEI European Eventing Championships for Young Riders and Juniors- presented by Saudia Airlines”. A continental event that will be concluded with the respective individual and team titles.
This is a competition that denotes the sporting growth of the new recruits, that one day, may line up as seniors with the Italian colours in the Olympics of 2024, maybe held in Italy. Confirming that which may seem a dream is the personal experience of the roman rider Lance Corporal Stefano Brecciaroli, individual and team Gold medallist in the junior European championship 1992 and then individual bronze at the European Young Rider in 1994. He has represented Italy in fact in three Olympic editions and this year has obtained the qualification for Rio 2016.
The same goes for Vittoria Pannizzon, also from Rome, Individual gold and team bronze in the Junior European championships 2000, individual silver and team bronze Junior European championships 2003 and has represented Italy twice at the Olympics and has obtained the qualification for Rio 2016.
The circle closes with Pietro Roman, member of the junior European team in 2004 and today protagonist of the qualification for the Rio Olympics. This year, the Olympic year, the European young championships are back in Italy after eleven years, (where they were held at the Pratoni del Vivaro in 2004) even more exciting taking into consideration a passion for the Olympics that is handed down from father to son.
Pietro Roman is the son of Federico Roman, the last Italian eventing Olympic champion (Moscow 1980). Federico Roman, today an instructor, but above all a proud father, who encourages all youngsters in this sport.
“It is not only those who win – declared Federico Roman – but those who participate in the Young Rider and Junior FEI European Championships, live an important experience for their future competitions as Seniors. I am talking about the team effort that allows an athlete to test his self control and nerves."
"I am sure that my son Pietro has learned much from the experience that he had in the Junior Championship and will treasure this in his next competitions. I wish the maximum concentration to all the riders that will compete at Montelibretti. Knowing how to control your emotions always makes the difference in all sports.”
Team effort, self control, motivation and maturity: these are the principle cardinals on which the Young Riders and Juniors European Eventing Championships are based. Giovanni Malago, President of the Italian Olympic Committee is of the same opinion: “Sport means growing, it teaches youngsters to bring out the best in them selves, remembering always the concept of humility, respect for your adversity, respect for the rules and, in the case of equitation, respect for the horse.”.
Therefore all eyes are on the youngsters, as Mauro Checcoli testifies with his Olympic Gold Eventing medal won at only 21 years old (Tokyo 1964). “Eventing needs talent, but talent alone is not enough – said Mauro Checcoli – it also needs method, culture and respect for the horse. I would like to give some advice to the European Young Riders and Junior participants: In sport as in life, it is essential never to stop learning .