The 25th FEI European Dressage Championships are set to be the biggest yet, with a record 21 nations aiming to compete in Rotterdam (NED) on 17-21 August. And tickets for the Freestyle-to-Music, which will decide the individual medals on 21 August, are already sold out with tickets for the other three days selling fast.
As the Rotterdam organisers celebrate the 60-day countdown to the Championships, 18 National Federations have indicated that they hope to field full teams and a further three countries plan to send individuals.
The previous European record was set in 1997 when 19 nations participated in Verden (GER), although Arnhem (NED) hosted the largest ever Open European Championships in 1999 when riders from 25 nations competed.
“It is fitting that we mark the 25th year of the FEI European Dressage Championships with such an impressive entry,” said Trond Asmyr, Director of Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage at the FEI.
“Since Freestyle-to-Music was elevated to Olympic level, the popularity of Dressage has risen dramatically and it’s no surprise that tickets for the Final at the impressive Kralingse Forest site sold out soon after they went on sale. Fans will need to be quick if they want to see their European heroes perform in August.
“This year’s Championships will also serve as a London 2012 qualifier for three Olympic Groups, so the teams that did not go through at last year’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games will be aiming to book their ticket to next year’s Games.”
The FEI European Dressage Championships take place every two years in the middle of the Olympic cycle and have been held since 1963.
It is the first time that this major FEI event has been held in Rotterdam and only the second time it has been hosted by The Netherlands.
The three best ranked teams from Olympic Groups A, B & C (North & South Western Europe, Central & Eastern Europe and Central Asia) at the 2011 FEI European Dressage Championships, excluding those already qualified at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky last year - which are Great Britain, Holland and Germany - will qualify for the London Olympics next year.
The 18 nations which have already indicated their intention to field full teams at the FEI European Dressage Championships 2011 are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Sweden and Ukraine.
The three nations planning to send individuals are Czech Republic, Turkey and Hungary. Definite entries close on 10 August.
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