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Youth Europeans in Olympic disciplines cancelled – new pony event planned for autumn

All FEI young rider, junior and pony European Championships in the Olympic disciplines have been cancelled for 2020 — but a new replacement youth event is to be held this autumn.

Vilamoura Equestrian Centre in Portugal, host of the young rider, junior and children on horses showjumping championships, announced the cancellation today (13 May) as did organisers of the 2020 FEI European Championships for ponies.

This year’s pony dressage, showjumping and eventing championships were set to be held in Strzegom, Poland, from 15 to 19 July but the plug has been pulled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The decision has been taken in consultation with the FEI and with the health of all athletes and everyone involved in mind, and of course fair play rules,” said a statement from the organisers.

“We tried our best to find a new date, but it proved to be extremely difficult to plan a big sports show during the school summer holidays this year.

“We realise that for many athletes the Europeans were their last chance to compete in this age category, so instead of FEI European Championships for ponies, we plan to organise a new event called the European Pony Masters in September or October.”

This will include team and individual competitions in showjumping, eventing and dressage.

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FEI secretary general Sabrina Ibáñez said: “After all the hard work they have put in, it is desperately disappointing for Marcin Konarski and his wonderful team at Strzegom to have to cancel the FEI European Championships for ponies, and also of course for all the young athletes who were planning their season around heading to Poland this summer.

“But it is wonderful that Strzegom has come up with a creative solution, with the new European Pony Masters offering an alternative outing later in the year.”

Ms Ibáñez added it is “so sad” the showjumping championships is “yet another sporting event to fall victim to the pandemic”.

“Especially knowing how much time and effort has already gone into the preparations,” she said. “But it is great that the organisers and the Portuguese national federation have already been so proactive and have come up with a proposal to potentially reschedule the championships in 2021; we will discuss that with the FEI board next month.”

The cancellations follow Hartpury’s abandonment of the 2020 dressage and eventing FEI European Championships for juniors and young riders.

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