Blenheim to host London 2012 Olympic eventing team qualifier
The FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale) has announced that the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials (8-11 September 2011) will be hosting the London 2012 team Eventing qualifier for Africa, Middle East, South East Asia and Oceania (FEI Olympic Groups F and G).
Blenheim, which began in 1990, is firmly established in the Eventing calendar attracting international champions and over 60,000 spectators every year.
The venue is also synonymous with Olympic qualification. In 2003, Blenheim hosted the Asia-Pacific Championships as a qualifier for the 2004 Athens Olympics and a second Olympic qualifier in 2007 for the 2008 Beijing Games.
With Canada, New Zealand, USA, Germany and Belgium teams already through to London 2012 with host nation Great Britain following the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2010 in Kentucky, the likes of Australia, Japan and South Africa will be going all out at Blenheim to clinch Olympic qualification.
The team competition will run as part of the CCI 3* class, with just one nation from Groups F and G earning a qualifying spot for London 2012.
“We expect the venue to be packed to the rafters with fans eager to see Olympic hopefuls perform so close to London 2012,” explained Mandy Hervieu, Event Director for the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials.
“The Olympic qualifier will run within our existing CCI 3* class, taking in the cross country course designed by Eric Winter and built by David Evans’ team who were responsible for the Beijing Olympic course in 2008.”
“We are thrilled that Blenheim, with its historic links to the Olympics and strong roots in Eventing, will be hosting this London 2012 qualifier,” said Catrin Norinder, Director - Eventing & Olympic at the FEI.
“As well as the usual international Eventing stars that religiously compete at Blenheim, spectators will be treated to some of the best riders from Oceania, South East Asia, Africa and the Middle East, who will be battling it out to qualify for the Olympic Games.”
“Our riders will be giving it their all at Blenheim to qualify for London 2012,” said Grant Baldock, Chief Executive Officer of Equestrian Australia. “It was the first time our Eventing team did not go through at the World Equestrian Games. With our Eventing High Performance Programme and recently appointed Eventing National Performance Director Prue Barrett our main focus is the Olympic qualifier. We aren’t thinking about the Olympics at this stage - we are focused on the qualifier.”
Photo: Clayton Fredericks (AUS) riding Walterstown Don at Fidelity Blenheim Palace Horse Trials 2010 © John Britter Photography
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