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Posted by Kirsty Pasto on 31/05/2021.

Equestrian Australia High Performance Weekly Update – 31st May 2021

As we approach Tokyo 2020 our athletes continue to face unforeseen challenges as they prepare both themselves and their horses for potential team selection in the coming month/s.

Victoria has now entered its second snap lockdown in response to concerns surrounding the transmission of Covid-19. We remain in close contact with our Victorian based riders to ensure they are supported throughout this disruption and can continue their competition preparation in anticipation of the restrictions lifting. Currently, Melbourne International 3 Day Event, the final Tokyo 2020 eventing qualification event to be held in Australia, is still scheduled to take place as planned from 10th – 14th June at Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre. We are working with the organising committee as they navigate the difficulties of preparing for the event during lockdown and will keep all of our athletes informed of any potential developments. 

Internationally our eventing athletes are also encountering potential challenges as Germany announced last week further entry restrictions for those travelling from the UK. We are collaborating closely with our athletes who intend to compete at Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI5*-L in June, which is set to be the final Tokyo 2020 qualification event for our European/UK based eventers. We are also engaged in frequent consultation with the event organisers to ensure that we are aware of any potential avenues that would allow our athletes to travel safely to the event and comply with all government directives. 

Our athletes across all Olympic and Paralympic disciplines continue to train and focus on the remaining international competitions on the calendar, with many of our combinations producing consistently notable performances. This past weekend Simone Pearce and the stallion Amandori won their fourth consecutive international Grand Prix title at Achleiten CDI4* in Austria. The combination won both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle tests at the event, adding to their already impressive run of recent performances. 

Last week Equestrian Australia (EA) announced the appointment of Darren Gocher as the new EA CEO. Mr Gocher will commence his role as CEO today, Monday 31st May. We would like to extend a warm welcome to Mr Gocher as he joins the team and we look forward to working alongside him as we prepare our athletes to perform on the international stage at both Tokyo 2020 and the World Equestrian Games 2022. With Mr Gocher’s arrival this week, Andrew Hamilton, who has served as acting CEO since 2019, will resume his role as General Manager, Business Operations and Integrity. We’d like to thank Mr Hamilton for his continuous support and interest in the EA High Performance Program throughout his tenure as acting CEO. 

Celebrations were launched last week to honour the centenary of the FEI. The FEI was founded in 1921 to govern the Olympic disciplines, and at the time only encompassed eight nations. The FEI, like our sport itself, has evolved and now incorporates 136 national federations worldwide, as well as Paralympic and non-Olympic equestrian disciplines. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the FEI to adapt its centenary plans, which will now extend through to the end of May 2022. We will be joining the FEI in commemorating this milestone over the next year by sharing the numerous achievements of the Australian Equestrian Team on our digital channels using #FEI100Years and we invite everyone to join us in the celebration of our wonderful sport by following us on social media.

 We continue to ensure that our operational and logistical planning ahead of the postponed Games remains progressive as we work closely with the Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympics Australia to make sure we are aligned with all activities and schedules. As we all work towards the ultimate objective of safely delivering our athletes, horses and teams in Japan we eagerly await the release of the final Tokyo 2020 Playbooks, so we can finalise and incorporate all protocols and safety measures to protect the health and wellbeing of all those on the ground throughout the Games.

As always the health and safety of our people and horses remain our priority as we work together as a high-performance community to navigate these unprecedented times.

 

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