Three venues shape up for ‘spectacular’ 2022 World Championships

  • Three venues are preparing to host the new-style equestrian World Championships in 2022, following a step away from the World Equestrian Games (WEG) format of all disciplines at the same venue.

    The Italian venues Pratoni del Vivaro and Verona, and Herning in Denmark, are the three hosts for this year’s championships, which will also serve as qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    Pratoni del Vivaro is home to the eventing and driving (14–25 September), Verona hosts the endurance on 22 October and Herning will hold the showjumping, para dressage, vaulting and dressage World Championships from 6 to 14 August.

    “These well-established venues and organising committees have proven experience in hosting major international events,” FEI director of games operations Tim Hadaway told H&H, adding that they were allocated the championships following a “full evaluation process of the bids”.

    “By allocating these multi-discipline championships to Herning and Pratoni del Vivaro, we are working with hosts that already have the necessary experience and required infrastructure to organise world-class equestrian championships.

    “Herning is already recognised as one of the biggest exhibition facilities in Denmark, with a very professional forward-thinking team, and a lot of experience behind them.”

    He said as dressage World Cup hosts, and a previous venue for the 2013 Europeans, Herning has the infrastructure needed, offering “the best in field of play and training arenas, stabling, great facilities for spectators with the exhibition and shopping villages undercover”.

    “Pratoni del Vivaro is an iconic and legendary location for equestrian sport, with many decades of hosting championships and international events at every level,” added Mr Hadaway.

    “With a lot of investment going into the site, the historical facilities built to host the 1960 Rome Olympic Games, and again showcased during the 1998 FEI World Equestrian Games, will have a new field of play, a new sand arena being constructed for eventing dressage, as well as new training and warm-up arenas.

    “The stables and other infrastructure are also undergoing upgrades to ensure the best possible conditions will be on offer for horses, athletes and grooms alike.

    “The partnership between [eventing World Championship] cross-country course-designer Giuseppe della Chiesa, who also represents the organising committee as the director of sport, and his counterpart driving course-designer Josef Middendorf, from Germany, are working closely to ensure the cross-country and driving marathon courses will showcase key features of the historic hills of Pratoni.”

    Isola della Scala, where the 160km endurance championship ride will be held on 22 October, has “spectacular scenery”, with the vetgate built outside the historic Pala Rioso.

    “The close collaboration between Verona organising committee and Veronafiere-Fieracavalli, organisers of the FEI jumping World Cup and many other major international events, highlights the experience and passion they have to run the 2022 edition, and we are confident they will deliver a truly unique and top-class event,” said Mr Hadaway.

    Herning, home to the 2013 European Championships, is expecting 200,000 spectators across the nine days of championship competition.

    “We have an ambition to make Herning2022 a multi-event with the sport as the centre of attention,” said Jens Trabjerg, Herning’s chief executive of sport.

    The Stutteri Ask Stadium, a 120m x 72m main arena, will be home to the dressage and showjumping World Championship classes. Dutchman Louis Konickx, technical delegate at the Tokyo Olympics, is confirmed as showjumping course designer.

    The para dressage World Championship classes will be held in a newly built outdoor arena – the BB Horse Arena – which seats around 2,500. Vaulting will take place indoors at the Jyske Bank Boxen, a major concert arena at the venue.

    Competitors will also have access to three warm-up arenas next to the Stutteri Ask Stadium, including one indoor, plus four surfaces near the stables, a lunge arena, and a hand-grazing area.

    “The planning is on track, and we experience a completely overwhelming interest from many sides to be part of this World Championships,” added Casper Cassøe Krüth, chief executive of operations.

    Herning organisers will hold a major international dressage and showjumping fixture in March to showcase the facilities. FEI representatives will be attending, to oversee testing of the arena footing and see how preparations are advancing for the championships.

    Carola Brighenti, sport manager at Pratoni del Vivaro 2022, told H&H that this is a “historic venue” for equestrian sport in Italy and the benefits these championships bring are hoped to span far beyond one week in September.

    Excitement is building for the pre-championship test event this spring, as well as the lasting gift the investment in the site is hoped to bring.

    “A very important part is that there is a huge legacy project for the venue,” she said, adding that the aim is for it to host more international fixtures in future.

    “We are very focused on the test event and championships, but hopefully the venue will be a multi-discipline venue for everyone after.”

    A total of 12 nations are intending to send eventing teams to the test event (11–15 May), which kicks off a run of top-tier competition in the Rome area.

    “We have the eventing, then the driving [18 to 22 May], and the following week is the five-star showjumping Piazza di Siena – it’s going to be an amazing three weeks of equestrian sport in the same city,” she added.

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