The hunt for heroes continues, with nominations for the FEI Awards 2014 - the Oscars of the equestrian world - open for another six weeks until 9 September.
Commitment, dedication and courage are just some of the qualities rewarded in the five categories in the FEI’s annual global search for excellence in equestrian sport.
The Longines Rising Star Award rolls out the red carpet for the stars of tomorrow. The category is dedicated to equestrians aged 14 to 21 who demonstrate outstanding sporting talent.
Alex Hua Tian, China’s first Eventing rider to compete at Olympic level was the first Rising Star Award winner when the FEI Awards were launched in 2009. It’s a moment he remembers fondly.
“I was so proud and humbled to be awarded the inaugural Rising Star Award”, he said. “It inspired me to go professional, to continue to strive to improve both as a horseman and a trainer, and to promote this amazing sport to other young riders in China and UK, where I am based for training and competing.” The 24 yr. old, who recently became patron for World Horse Welfare, was described in the Chinese media as “one in 1.3 billion” in the lead-up the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
“I would encourage everyone to step forward and nominate a person or organisation that has really impressed them. I am sure that they would be thrilled to receive a nomination, and be spurred on by the global recognition of their efforts”, commented Hua Tian, who is currently preparing for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (23 August-7 September) in France.
Last year, the Longines Rising Star Award went to Reed Kessler (USA), the youngest equestrian athlete to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The rider, who shared the 2012 USEF National Jumping title with the legendary Olympian Margie Engle, swapped her boots and jodhpurs for a pair of high heels and a stunning dress to receive her award at the glittering FEI Awards 2013 gala evening in Montreux, Switzerland.
“We are conscious that young athletes represent the future of sport and we wish to support them along this path”, said Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice-President and Head of International Marketing of Longines, who welcomed guests to the FEI Awards Gala 2013.
Nominations are also open for the other four categories in the FEI Awards 2014:
Reem Acra Best Athlete Award - Celebrates the human or equine athlete - or the combination - who over the last 12 months have demonstrated exceptional skills in the arena, and have taken equestrian sport to a new level.
Against All Odds Award - Rewards people who have pursued their equestrian ambitions despite physical handicap or extremely difficult personal circumstances.
Best Groom Award - Reserved for those all-important behind-the-scenes team members who work around the clock to ensure that their horses get the best possible care and attention.
FEI Solidarity Award - 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 can be made until midnight on 9 September at www.feiawards.org. A jury of international experts chaired by FEI President HRH Princess Haya will select the award winners, who will be flown to Baku, Azerbaijan in December.
The FEI Awards will be presented at a glamorous gala evening with over 350 guests, including representatives of the 132 National Federations from around the world.