With competition now taking place in multiple States the momentum has picked up domestically as our identified riders embrace the opportunity to continue their Tokyo 2020 preparations. We saw competition across all Olympic disciplines rebooted this weekend with not only national classes but also one international competition bringing with it a renewed focus and optimism. In contrast we are seeing competition slow overseas with many countries in various stages of confinement throughout Europe. We continue to monitor the situation and liaise closely with our overseas-based athletes to ensure they are supported and have access to the resources needed to continue their Olympic and Paralympic preparations.
The first virtual ‘EA High Performance Para-Equestrian Forum’ took place over the weekend and was designed to ensure our athletes are prepared, informed and empowered as they continue their Tokyo 2020 journey. With travel restrictions currently still in place as a result of Covid-19 the forum was unable to be delivered in person, and with the recent reinvention of the HP digital platform, the decision was made to proceed with the forum online. The virtual nature of the forum allowed riders across the globe to dial in and to date it is one of the most widely attended Para-equestrian forums delivered by HP. Industry experts offered the riders both practical and informative presentations on topics such as veterinary management, Paralympics Australia, coaching, media management, high-performance functions, and navigating international competition requirements. For the very first time the HP Para-Equestrian Forum was open to all Para-equestrian athletes, not just HP Squad members. This decision was made to ensure the program continues to play an active role in not only engaging our current cycle athletes but to also encourage new and emerging talent to take part in the program. The forum was met with overwhelming praise and positive feedback from the athletes and we look forward to hosting further forums in the future.
This year the FEI will be using their annual awards to celebrate past winners from 2009-2019 in an ultimate ‘decade of equestrian excellence’. Since their launch in 2009, the FEI Awards have become a key addition to the annual equestrian calendar and have grown in size and stature honouring one individual in each of the five categories; Best Athlete, Against All Odds, Best Groom, Rising Star and Solidarity. Over the past ten years Australia has amassed an impressive six winners across the various categories and this year they are once again all eligible for nomination. The Australian athletes in contention for the 2020 awards are Boyd Exell (Best Athlete), Joann Formosa, Emma Booth, Meg Wade (Against All Odds), Tom McDermott (Rising Star) and Michelle Robson (Best Groom). For the first time the FEI will be letting the public decide the winners by opening up the voting process. If you would like to support our Australian nominees you can vote by visiting https://www.fei.org/awards to cast your vote before 22nd November (CET).
Our plans ahead of the postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games continue to progress as we navigate the new challenges presented by Covid-19, leaving no detail unexamined. As we move closer to Games times we remain confident that the unprecedented level of preparation our team has executed will stand us in an exciting position and we look forward to delivering on the world stage in Tokyo.
As always the health and safety of our people and horses remain our highest priority as we work together as a united high-performance community to navigate these unprecedented times.
We thank you all for your understanding and continued support and please feel free to contact the High Performance team directly if you have any questions or queries.
Article courtesy of Equestrian Australia