Eventing remains an Olympic sport – for the Athens Games at least, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed to accept the FEI’s proposals to alter the format to that of a CIC competition in response to growing concerns about the cost of staging the event.

The roads and tracks and steeplechase phases will be omitted and the dressage will take place on the first two days, with cross-country on day three. Two phases of show jumping (as seen at Burghley in 2001) will decide the team and individual medals on the final day.

FEI committee member and director of Burghley horse trials Bill Henson said: “The change could have a big impact on the sport in terms of qualification – if the Olympic competition is a CIC, then I think qualifying competitions will also change in time.

It will also have an impact on breeding in the long-term, as the type of horse needed for CICs is very different to that which is ideal for CCIs.

The IOC is currently considering the future of three-day eventing as part of the 2008 Games in Beijing and will hold further discussions on the subject in February.

British Eventing chief executive Peter Durrant said: “I am optimistic that the change to a CIC format will be seen as an expression of co-operation between the IOC and equestrian sports. It is paramount that we stay in the Games, and eventing is not the only sport to have a different format for the Olympics to that used in its other major championships, so I think it is a workable solution.”

Modern pentathlon has also had a reprieve until after Athens.

The IOC was due to vote last week on whether to exclude the sport, in which British competitors Steph Cook and Kate Allenby won gold and bronze medals in Sydney, but has instead chosen to delay the decision to see whether the national federations have addressed concerns raised by the committee.

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