Young Irish showjumping sensation Harry Allen has won the Longines Rising Star Award in recognition of his outstanding performances. The 16-year-old double gold medallist at the FEI European Pony Championships received his prize at the ninth annual FEI Awards Gala in Montevideo, Uruguay on Tuesday 21 November.
This annual award celebrates “youth, talent, determination and the stars of tomorrow” and Harry was presented with a Longines watch. The Wexford teenager, younger brother of international rider Bertram Allen, is the first ever Irish winner of this prestigious award.
“We received over 100,000 votes and were overwhelmed with the response to this year’s Awards,” said FEI president Ingmar De Vos. “We have incredible athletes, with remarkable stories, and this year we had the highest number of nominations from more countries than ever before, which clearly shows the universality of our sport.
“The public involvement in the voting process was phenomenal and was an essential part of the judging process for these prestigious awards. It is outstanding to see the tremendous support for our athletes, who deserve the recognition, not just from within our community but of the wider sports industry and fans globally.”
Longines vice-president and head of international marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli added: “I would like to address my warmest congratulations to all winners of the 2017 FEI Awards, and in particular our Longines Rising Star, the 16-year-old talented jumping rider, Harry Allen. It’s very exciting to see all these incredible people pursue their dreams and continue to be great ambassadors for their sport.”
Among the other prize-winners were Great Britain’s very own Alan Davies (FEI Best Groom Award), Manoj Jalan (FEI Solidarity Award), Emma Booth (Against All Odds Award) and German dressage rider Isabell Werth, who received the Best Athlete Award in front of more than 270 guests which included top sporting legends and equestrian fans.
Nominations in each category were received from all over the world before the final results were decided — 50% by public vote and 50% by an exclusive panel of judges which included recently retired British showjumper Nick Skelton.