The 2020 Endurance World Championships have been postponed owing to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on equestrian sport.
In a statement yesterday (23 June) it was announced the championships, due to take place from 3-6 September at San Rossore, Pisa, Italy, are postponed until May 2021 following agreement between the FEI, the Italian national federation and the organisers.
A spokesman for the FEI said the pandemic and associated restrictions on both travel and training of horses meant it was “simply not possible” to maintain the original date.
The FEI board has agreed to prolong the qualification period for the championships to allow more time for horses and athletes to qualify, following the disruption to this year’s calendar caused by the pandemic.
Two continental endurance championships are scheduled to run in 2021; the Pan American Championships for senior and young riders in Campinas, Brazil, (28-29 July) and the European Championships in Ermelo, the Netherlands, (6-11 September)
The statement added the FEI last week contacted all 51 national federations that compete in the sport to understand their views on the proposed postponement of the World Championships and the potential impact on next year’s calendar.
The federations were asked whether they were in favour of the postponement, and if they would also participate in the continental championships if the World Championships were moved to 2021. Of 34 federations that responded to the questionnaire, 33 were in favour, of the postponement and their participation, where relevant, in one of the continental championships next year.
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FEI secretary general Sabrina Ibáñez said: “Our endurance community made it very clear that they want a World Championships, particularly after losing the last edition at Tryon, USA, in 2018, but horse welfare and a level playing field could not have been guaranteed if the championships had run in September, so it was the best solution to move the championships to May next year.
“Having consulted with the national federations we feel we have reached a compromise that works for everyone, but especially for our horses, as there will now be time for them to do the necessary preparation work and achieve their qualification for this major event.”
The future of the endurance World Championships for young horses and the European Championships for young riders and juniors, due to be held in Vic, Spain, (25-27 September) is being discussed by the FEI board this week during a three-day meeting (23-25 June).
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