Amid a flurry of cancellations of equestrian events caused by Covid-19 around the world, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is staying calm and encouraging athletes to continue preparing for Tokyo 2020 in four months’ time.
It said that, to date, 57 per cent of the athletes were qualified for the Games. For the remaining 43 per cent of places, the IOC will work with international federations to make adaptations to qualification systems for Tokyo 2020.
The IOC said it remained fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games “there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive”.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The health and well-being of all those involved in the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is our number one concern. All measures are being taken to safeguard the safety and interests of athletes, coaches and support teams. We are an Olympic community; we support one another in good times and in difficult times. This Olympic solidarity defines us as a community.”
Equestrian sport to make compromises
The FEI was remaining fully operational, he said, even though staff were working from their homes.
“Like all industries, the equestrian sporting world has effectively shut down and many of our members are feeling the impact and the related financial strain as a consequence of the restrictions imposed at national level in countries impacted by the virus. All of this is extremely challenging and I want to reiterate our commitment and our determination to help in any way we can to minimise the effects on each and every individual and organisation in our community.
“We have all had to adapt both our personal and our working lives in order to play our role in protecting the health and welfare of our nations. This is our collective responsibility and it must be a priority, but it does come at a cost,” De Vos said.
“Resilience, determination and dedication are synonymous with the equestrian community, and they are the values we will need to embrace now more than ever before in order to overcome the widespread consequences of this global pandemic.
“How we tackle every day, and how we find solutions together will counterbalance the cost for our community. This sense of solidarity and this dedication is not only our remit and our mission, it is what defines our sport and the FEI Family.”
Badminton looks ahead to 2021
Among the casualties on the equestrian calendar is the 2020 Badminton Horse Trials, which was to run between May 6 and 10.
Organisers apologised for the delay in making the announcement about the event’s cancellation, which followed the British government’s COVID-19 public health restrictions and its statement that emergency services are withdrawn from supporting mass gatherings.
“This is an unprecedented and challenging time for everyone and the health and safety of all those that attend and are involved with Badminton remains our number one priority. Please be assured that Badminton Horse Trials operates a refund policy and we will be in contact shortly with more information on how these will be processed accordingly.
“We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the 2021 event.”