We hope that you all had a happy and safe Easter and that you were able to enjoy quality time with family and friends.
Our riders continue to face varying challenges, regardless of their geographical location, as they prepare for the postponed Games. However, our cohort remains focussed and performance driven as they continuously review their individual performance plans to accommodate any necessary changes. Domestically, international level competition continues with WAYER Osborne Equine International Horse Trials last weekend staging the first FEI competition to take place in Western Australia for 2021. Additionally, domestic level competition remains healthy throughout Australia with the Sydney Royal Easter Show and Quirinidi Eventing both drawing some of the country’s top athletes across the long weekend and delivering many notable results.
Internationally, event availability varies by country with our riders based in the United States offered a strong calendar of both national and international competition across all disciplines. Our riders based in Europe eagerly anticipate the return of FEI competition, which is set to recommence April 12, following the six-week lockdown put in place to curb the spread of EHV-1. In the UK British Eventing provided ‘Elite’ events throughout March to enable athletes to continue preparing their horses for CCI5* competition, while adhering to strict Covid-19 protocols. With international competition set to begin in the UK later this month some of our identified riders chose to utilise these ‘Elite’ events as part of their competition preparation schedule.
Last week we hosted another virtual meeting in our ‘Covid-19 Strategy’ series. This meeting was for our Tokyo 2020 identified dressage athletes and focussed on the additional requirements in place ahead of the Games, and how our program will work to incorporate all Covid-19 compliance measures. The meeting also offered athletes the opportunity to ask any questions they had ahead of team selection and to connect with their fellow riders around the world. The meeting also detailed a comprehensive timeline from ‘Qualification’ through to ‘Return Isolation’, including what our athletes can expect on the ground during the Games and how our riders can best prepare themselves and their horses for the controlled environment in Tokyo.
To assist in ensuring our team’s safety and readiness ahead of Tokyo 2020 we have appointed Dr. Sharron Flahive to the position of Chief Medical Officer (CMO). Dr. Flahive will provide medical policy counsel on the further development and implementation of our Covid Action Strategy, and will also assist in providing the monitoring of movement for our team throughout the requisite quarantine periods leading up to, and during, the Games.
As we prepare for a Games unlike any other, we continue to collaborate closely with all relevant bodies including the FEI, Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Paralympics Australia (PA). Our High Performance staff remains involved in all aspects of the process and we continue to diligently communicate all developments with our stakeholders. We are also pleased to confirm that the AOC and PA have now approved all Tokyo 2020 Nomination Policies, as is required prior to distribution, and we look forward to presenting these policies to our riders and stakeholders in the coming days.
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 Australia