Special gala celebrates 100th anniversary of FEI

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Guests from all the major Olympic bodies as well as the equestrian world got together recently for a special gala event to celebrate the FEI’s 100th anniversary.

Those joining the celebrations included International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, FEI President from 2006 to 2014, who beamed in via a live weblink.

All the delegates from the FEI Sports Forum 2022, including National Federation and equestrian association representatives, Athletes, Officials, Committee Members and Grooms, were there, and also in attendance were delegations from the IOC, Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and a number of summer and winter Olympic sports and local sporting authorities.

In his keynote speech following a welcome by FEI President Ingmar De Vos, Bach reminded guests of how special equestrian sport is for the Olympic movement. He referred to the FEI’s good governance credentials, the community’s positive influence on the greater sporting sphere and the important steps taken by the FEI to embrace Agenda 2020+5 to ensure equestrian remains relevant in society and within the Olympic movement.

“Our founder Pierre de Coubertin described the uniqueness of equestrian sport in the following way: ‘Consider the sport of horse riding and see how well it portrays life’,” Bach said.

“No other equals it in this. The IOC is happy and proud to have FEI as a partner who has truly embraced Olympic Agenda 2020+5. Whether it is your initiatives in strengthening sustainability; making FEI a “gender champion”; promoting animal welfare; leading by example in good governance; or showing solidarity with the equestrian community in Ukraine suffering from the war. These and many more examples demonstrate the strong standing of FEI in our Olympic community.”

The 350 guests were also treated to a memorable surprise when Princess Haya appeared live and via weblink during the Official Ceremony, where she reflected on the wonderful community spirit which makes the FEI Family so unique.

Former FEI President Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein appeared live and via weblink during the Official Ceremony celebrating the FEI's 100th anniversary.
Former FEI President Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein appeared live and via weblink during the Official Ceremony celebrating the FEI’s 100th anniversary.

Guests and longstanding equestrian community members, including former Olympic Champions, Committee members and HQ staff also shared anecdotes during the Ceremony from their experiences, relating the incredible characters and bond between equestrians around the world.

Ingmar De Vos described the celebration as a fitting conclusion to a year-long campaign that has been all about community, strong values and a dedication to a unique sport and way of life.

“This campaign – Shaping the future together since 1921 – which began last May in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and was activated around the world to celebrate the past, the present and the future, can now come to an end and we can turn our full attention to the next 100 years.”

Performers had an audience of 350 in the special gala event celebrating the FEI's 100th anniversary.
Performers had an audience of 350 in the special gala event celebrating the FEI’s 100th anniversary.

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