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Sergio Alvarez Moya: “We should aim to have the European Championships next to the Olympic Games in 2021”

Tuesday, 14 April 2020
Interview

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Sergio Alvarez Moya with Jet Run at the European Championships in Rotterdam in 2019. 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 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. While nothing has been revealed yet as to what the possible alternatives are, Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya is one of the riders that is concerned that the Europeans will be forced to give way to the Olympics. Alvarez Moya now urges the FEI and the Jumping Calendar Task Force to aim for a solution that will make room for both the Europeans and the Olympic Games. 

“First of all, the Olympic Games will be an event for a limited group of European riders,” Alvarez Moya opens. “Ten European nations are qualified with teams, and the number of competing riders per team has already been cut down to three. In comparison, we had fifteen nations competing with teams of four at the Europeans in Rotterdam in 2019 and seventeen in Gothenburg in 2017.”

“I fully accept and understand all the current cancellations and postponements for 2020, but I think that the FEI and the Task Force need to be ambitious for next year. I see no reason why we should not aim to have the European Championships next to the Olympic Games in 2021,” Alvarez Moya says. 

“We have so much depth in Europe when it comes to horses and riders. At championship level, countries like Belgium and Germany have several combinations to choose from and many nations have riders that all have two championship horses each. Among those qualified for the Olympics, there are definitely more than just a few nations that have the horse-power to do two championships in one year,” Alvarez Moya says. “While all of us will have a gap year in 2020, the possibility of a 2021 without a European Championship would force countries like for example Italy and Spain to two years without an international team championship. I think that would be very unfortunate.”

“I understand that there could be several challenges, such as the dates or even the possibility of loss of funding or sponsors under the current economic climate. However, we should try to be ahead here and deal with this now while there is still time,” Alvarez Moya says. “It’s important that the FEI is sharp here, to protect their own concept – like we see for example the Global Champions Tour and the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping are doing with their events.”

“Another aspect that the FEI needs to consider is that having both the European Championships and the Olympic Games in 2021, could have a major impact on stimulating the horse market which is currently standing completely still. At least this way, there would be another major reason to invest in horse-power,” Alvarez Moya points out.

“Also, it would not be the first time in history we would have a championship next to the Olympic Games. While it’s a long time ago, it’s happened before,” the Spanish rider tells. 

“I am of the opinion that this would be the best solution for the sport, and I’m sure more riders would agree on that,” Alvarez Moya closes off. 

 

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