Barcelona, Oct 1 (EFE).- The secretary general of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), Sabrina Ibáñez, said Sunday, in an interview with Agencia EFE, that the involvement of the public and the infrastructure development at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona were key to keeping the Jumping Nations Cup final at the venue until 2027.
“The fact that we have been coming here for ten years and that every year they are improving is incredible. The amount of people that were here this weekend is incredible. This atmosphere cannot be copied. For us, it was obvious that Barcelona was the perfect place to have the finals of our most important series. There was no better option,” she said.
The over-one-hundred-year-old competition is one of the most popular of the season on the equestrian circuit, and, in 2024, it will undergo a restructuring to “modernize and simplify” its format.
Instead of the previous geographical divisions, the top ten countries in the FEI rankings will compete in four fixed events -which will be, for the moment, Abu Dhabi (UAE); Ocala, (Florida, USA); St. Gallen (Switzerland); and Rotterdam (Netherlands), where the top eight will travel to the final in Barcelona.
The changes will also affect the competitions. The teams in the first round will be of four participants per country and the three best scores will count; in the second round, the starting order will be reversed and only the best three pairs compete, with the results of both rounds added together.
“This new format respects the tradition of the Nations Cup but modernizes and simplifies it,” said Ibáñez. She added that the main sponsor Longines had agreed to the changes and, with fewer rounds, “there will be more prize money in the finals.”
In this sense, next year will be an outstanding season for equestrian sport, with the 2024 Olympic Games also being held.
The FEI has described preparation for Paris 2024 as “very good” and is satisfied with the complete sale of all the tickets for their events.
The federation’s secretary general said that equestrian sports are considered the third most important in France, and the fact that most riders are based in Europe makes the logistics “simpler” for the transfer of horses and equipment, compared to Tokyo 2020 and Rio 2016.
Finally, concerning the opening of new markets, she said that “since 2009, a lot of money has been invested in development projects, in total, almost 2 million Swiss francs -just over 2 million euros- for South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. In total, there is a 66% increase in events, and the money is earmarked for projects for training coaches, riders, maintenance, etc.”
From the FEI they consider that the jump in quality of the Pan American Games is “incredible.” Countries like Brazil, always at the forefront of international tournaments, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina are consolidated at the top, and countries like Ecuador and Bolivia are improving. EFE