UK Sport has committed £275,000 towards the staging costs of the 2005 European Eventing Championships at Blenheim (8-11 September 2005). This boost from Lottery funding represents around 25% of the event’s total budget.
The biennial championships, which attract riders from more than 20 nations, were last held in the UK at Burghley in 1997, when the home team made the most of their advantage.
Last year’s event at Punchestown in Ireland saw Britain crowned European Eventing Champions for the fifth year in succession, and for the 18th time since the championships were first held in 1953. Britain has only been outside the top three on one occasion in the championships’ history.
John Scott, director of major events at UK Sport says: “Blenheim already enjoys a formidable reputation, thanks to the annual international horse trials. The support of the National Lottery will be crucial in allowing organisers to deliver the level of event expected of a European championship in a major Olympic sport.
“The European Eventing Championships form a key part of the major events strategy of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF)”, he adds.
Major benefits of the funding are expected to be a higher profile for the sport, home advantage for the British riders, as well as improved facilities to cater for the increased crowd numbers expected.
The funding is part of an on-going scheme to enhance the UK’s reputation as a host of world-class events. UK sport stressed the importance of enhancing the UK’s reputation in international circles as the BEF evaluates whether or not to mount a bid for the 2010 World Equestrian Games.
Peter Durrant, chief executive of British Eventing, says: “The most rewarding aspect of this essential grant, is not only the recognition of the great partnership between BE and Blenheim by the UK’s major sporting organisation, but it also undoubtedly reflects the health and status of eventing in this country as an Olympic sport.”