The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), world governing body of equestrian sport, has today launched the FEI Awards 2015 to celebrate the world’s exceptional equestrians.
The annual salute to excellence, courage, commitment and dedication starts today with nominations open at www.feiawards.org.
“Our sport is unique and extraordinary”, FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “Our athletes and everyone working in the equestrian community have amazing track records of success, incredible personalities and fascinating back stories. Time and time again as spectators and on television we see sensational victories, but there is so much more to our sport than meets the eye.
“These awards honour everyone who makes our sport happen, highlighting the true value of horse sport and its contribution to our global society. HRH Princess Haya created these important awards and I am proud to continue this tradition, which is now part of our community.”
The Longines Rising Star Award - won last year by Lambert Leclezio, who at just 17 became the first athlete to represent Mauritius at a World Championship when he stepped into the Vaulting arena at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 – is for equestrians aged 14 to 21 who demonstrate outstanding sporting talent and commitment.
The Reem Acra Best Athlete - awarded to Dutch jumping legend Jeroen Dubbeldam, who scored individual and team gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian™ Games 2014 and helped the Netherlands clinch the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Final just weeks later – celebrates the athlete who over the last 12 months has demonstrated exceptional skills in the arena, and has taken equestrian sport to a new level.
The Against All Odds Award acknowledges people who have pursued their equestrian ambitions despite physical issues or extremely difficult personal circumstances. Last year this award went to Para-Equestrian Dressage athlete Sydney Collier (USA) with her service dog Journey. Collier, also named 2014 Junior Equestrian of the Year by the United States Equestrian Federation, has relentlessly pursued her dreams while dealing with the rare Wyburn Mason syndrome and is now aiming to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The Best Groom Award – won last year by Jackie Potts (GBR) who has spent over 20 years as groom and right-hand woman in the stables of world Eventing number one William Fox-Pitt (GBR) – is dedicated to the vital behind-the-scenes team members who work 24/7 to ensure their horses get the best possible care and attention.
The FEI Solidarity Award – which went to equine therapy centre Equal Ark (SIN) last year – will be presented to an FEI Solidarity or equestrian development project, or an individual or organisation that has demonstrated skill, dedication and energy in expanding equestrian sport.
Nominations for the FEI Awards 2015 will close at midnight on 28 August 2015.
The winners of the awards will be flown to the glittering FEI Awards Gala presented by Longines in Puerto Rico’s capital San Juan, where over 350 guests from the global equestrian community, including representatives from the FEI’s National Federations around the world, will celebrate their triumphs.
Photo Caption: Equestrian heroes celebrated at the FEI Awards 2014, in association with Longines and with international fashion designer Reem Acra (left to right): Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED), Melissa Tan (SIN) chairman of equine therapy centre Equal Ark, Jackie Potts (GBR), Lambert Leclezio (MRI) with (centre) Sydney Collier (USA) and her service dog Journey. (FEI/Liz Gregg)