FEI Open & European Para-Equestrian Dressage Championships
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The FEI Open & European Para-Equestrian Dressage Championships get underway today, marking a historic achievement for Norway as it will be the first time a European equestrian Championship is held on Norwegian soil, and also the first time a European summer sport Championship is held there.
The event takes place at the Epona Riding Centre, established in 2005 and near Kristiansand on the south coast of Norway providing a magnificent backdrop for the event. Cato Zahl Pedersen, an intrepid adventurer, and Paralympic multi medallist is Honorary President of the Championships, reinforcing the message that the impossible is possible.
“The event is an important milestone and I hope this is the start of a tradition where we lead the way on integrating the disabled.”
The start lists reveal 80 of the world’s top riders from 22 countries, including most of last year’s Paralympic medallists, with both European and non-European riders vying for a good result. Indeed, the event will also serve a qualifier for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010 in Kentucky (USA), and considering that this is the first time Para-Equestrian Dressage will be included in the format of the World Equestrian Games, qualifying slots will be hotly disputed. The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games will host the World Championships in Jumping, Dressage & Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Reining and Vaulting – making it the largest equestrian event in the world – from 25 September to 10 October next year.
Alongside the Open & European Championships, the If European Youth Challenge (IEYC) open to young riders will also be held, providing invaluable insight and experience to the next generation of athletes. To encourage NFs to send their young riders to the competition, the OC, together with the sponsor If.., offered free entry to one qualified rider from each NF participating in the IEYC.
The complete list of competitors, results and schedule and more are available at www.paraem2009.no
You can also follow all the latest news on www.twitter.com/ParaEquestrian
For more information on Para-Equestrian Dressage go to www.fei.org