As our team continues to prepare of a Games like no other we have received a number of positive updates regarding the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games over the past week.
In an effort to offer assurance to athletes preparing to represent Australia on the world stage the Australian Government agreed last Tuesday to vaccinate athletes and support staff headed to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games under priority group 1b. This news has provided great comfort for our athletes and their support teams as they prepare for potential team selection in the coming months. We continue to work closely with the Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympics Australia, alongside both our domestic and overseas-based athletes, regarding the availability of Covid-19 vaccinations and the ongoing health and welfare of our team.
With the publication of the revised ‘Athletes and Officials Playbook’ last week the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee have provided further insight surrounding the management of Covid-19 throughout the Games. The Playbooks provide a framework for principles that will be implemented throughout each phase of the Games. The most recent update to the ‘Athletes and Officials Playbook’ centers on additional Covid-19 protocols and compliance measures such as testing, contact tracing, and social distancing that will allow us to further update our operational and logistical planning. Further playbook updates will be released in June.
Last week we announced our increased financial support of the Australian International 3 Day Event, with the HP Program now also funding the cost of entry and stable fees and for all Australian combinations competing in the CCI5* class, as well as the provision of a $500 AUD grant for each CCI5* Australian rider to reduce travel expenses to Adelaide. For many of our riders the Australian International 3 Day Event is the pinnacle event of the year, being the only CCI5* in the Southern Hemisphere and one of only six CCI5* events in the world. We are mindful that the global pandemic has had a significant impact on our athletes, owners, support teams and organising committees and that the economic consequences of Covid-19 are widespread, forcing some to reconsider large-scale campaigns. We are dedicated to supporting our elite athletes on their journey to represent Australia on the world stage, which includes providing them with opportunities to compete at the highest level of the sport. In response we have therefore made the commitment to increase our support for the event. We hope that this investment will encourage a strong competitive field and promote the high calibre of equestrian talent Australia has to offer.
It was with great disappointment, and following close consultation with our counterparts at Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ), that we announced last week the Oceania Championships would not be taking place this year. The Oceania Championships 2021 were scheduled to run in conjunction with Melbourne International 3 Day Event in June. However, despite careful planning and the recent introduction of the travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, there is still significant uncertainty regarding Covid-19, which makes staging the campaign untenable at this time. We share in the disappointment of all the potential team hopefuls and their supporters of both nations. The friendly biennial competition has served as an introduction to the international stage for many of our most successful riders and we are dedicated to continuing this legacy. We remain committed to hosting a world-class Oceania Championships for both our Senior and Young Rider Teams as soon as is practical, and will continue discussions with ESNZ post Tokyo 2020.
As competition continues to progress both overseas and domestically we are seeing notable results from our athletes across all disciplines as they continue their Tokyo 2020 and World Equestrian Games campaigns. This past week the Sydney CD-Lite took place at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre attracting many of Australia’s top dressage combinations. Due to the current FEI requirements to conduct a CDI it was not possible to include international competition at this year’s event. However, the organising committee still offered riders a comprehensive programme that included FEI classes, which were run as national competitions. Competitors from around the country took advantage of the opportunity to prepare for the return of international competition by taking part in the Sydney CD-Lite, where our domestic athletes produced promising results across the board in the FEI (CDN) categories.
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.
Article courtesy of Equestrian Austraila