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Giulia Martinengo Marquet: “Two major championships in the same year can only be seen as a fantastic opportunity for the riders”

Thursday, 07 May 2020

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping
"I think I speak for most professional riders when I say that we do what we do every day because we have a dream – we are not in this only for the business," Giulia Martinengo Marquet says, here seen with Elzas. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



With the Olympic Games in Tokyo postponed to 23 July to 8 August 2021, the FEI has stated that possible alternatives for a number of major events – including the 2021 European Championships in Budapest – need to be explored. The five-discipline European Championships in Budapest are due to run from 23-30 August 2021, shortly after the Olympics. At the end of April, the FEI announced that all decisions regarding the FEI Championships will be discussed in the Board’s June meeting. 

While Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya already has voiced his opinions when it comes to the 2021 Europeans, Italy’s leading lady rider Giulia Martinengo Marquet now shares her view on the topic. “The more I think about having two major championships in the same year, the less negatives I see. I think I speak for most professional riders when I say that we do what we do every day because we have a dream – we are not in this only for the business. We train every single day to reach our goals, but this year the Covid-19 pandemic has eradicated most of them. As much as we enjoy our day to day life, we all still need goals to reach for – even if they might be a little far away,” Giulia says.  

In Italy’s case, the country can only send one individual jumping combination to the Olympics as they did not qualify with a team. “In our sport, there are many strong countries. Thus, good horse-and-rider combinations never even get the chance to go to a championship. Maybe 2021 could turn out to be a year where new combinations can show up and get a chance they deserve. This can be a great motivation. After all, championships are what makes the difference – also when it comes to sponsors and owners,” Giulia points out. 

“We can’t exclude that the Olympics end up being postponed again – or even worse, cancelled. Therefore, if a decision was made now to cancel the European Championships in 2021, we might end up with nothing. The way I see it, is that the level of the sport is so high as of today that to run two major championships in the same year it is indeed feasible and can only can be seen as a fantastic opportunity for both riders and owners,” Giulia says. 

“The economic – and possible political – consequences are something I as a rider can’t fully appreciate. As an athlete, I don’t see any reason why we should not aim for both the Europeans and the Olympics in 2021. Surely, this might be different from discipline to discipline but for jumping we should support it the best way we can instead of accepting a ‘no go',” Giulia continues. 

The European Championships is one of FEI’s own flagship events, together with the Nations Cup series and the World Cup series, and Giulia quickly points out an important link in this chain. “If we have no championship to aim for, which would be the case for several riders should the Europeans be cancelled, I can imagine it could be hard to fully motivate the athletes as well as the horse owners to take part in the Nations Cup events. There are normally so many other lucrative CSI shows to choose from, so I can easily imagine that many would make their priorities based on prize money instead,” she says. “In my opinion, horse welfare can also not be used as an argument to cancel the Europeans. This is a matter of either good planning or careful sports career choices.” 


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