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Last remaining European five-star show cancelled owing to coronavirus

The last remaining five-star showjumping event of 2020 in Europe has cancelled owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers of CHI Geneva (10 to 13 December) had been hopeful of holding the event, which would have marked its 60th anniversary this year and also included the sole leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping not already halted by the global pandemic.

But new health measures introduced in Switzerland over the last few days mean it is “impossible to hold the event”.

A spokesperson for the show said the organising committee has done “everything in their power” including “strict and far-reaching health security measures”, but it was not to be.

New measures introduced by the federal council and Geneva state council limit events to five people.

“With participants and staff not included in this figure, the closed-door option was studied, but in the current health situation the organising committee cannot of course envisage bringing together under one roof a total of some 400 committee members, volunteers, riders, grooms, etc,” said a statement from the organisers.”

CHI Geneva show director Sophie Mottu Morel said the health situation is serious and the “safety of the population is the absolute priority”.

“This year’s show would have been quite different to what we expect, but we had hoped nevertheless to offer riders and drivers the opportunity to practise their sport, while offering the public the possibility of following their performances on our live-streaming or on TV,” she said.

“The announcements of the last few days have however made it impossible to hold the event.

“This cancellation is a severe blow for all involved in the show who have worked extremely hard for many months on the various scenarios. But we will return even stronger in 2021 to celebrate our 60th edition.

“By taking this decision today, we are guaranteeing the continuation of our event over the years to come.”

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The show would also have featured the Rolex International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) top 10 final, which was set to celebrate its 20th anniversary this year.

“The cancellation of an event of such importance is always the source of great regret, especially in light of the untiring work of the organising committee, the past enthusiasm the event has created, and the disappointed hopes of all involved,” said IJRC director Eleonora Ottaviani.

“Unfortunately, in a situation as complicated and serious as this pandemic, this is a painful, wise and indispensable decision. The main priority at the moment is health and respect for life.

“We will work to ensure that in 2021 the Geneva organising committee, together with the IJRC for the top 10, to offer the public an extra special celebration for the 20th anniversary.”

IJRC president Kevin Staut added: “Our support goes to the organising committee, as well as to all the competitions and to all the riders that have found themselves in this situation this season, in the hope that we will experience a return to normal in 2021.”

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