FEI Competition for Youth Resumes in Europe

FEI Competition for Youth Resumes in Europe Photo © FEI

Some of Europe's best young Jumping athletes are heading to big events this week...
Europe’s top young athletes are ready for a fabulous few weeks of international competition! After the frustrations of recent months, hundreds of youths will be competing in big events across the continent.

This week sees the staging of events in the Czech Republic and Netherlands, with many bright hopes travelling from a number of countries to enjoy the thrill of competition. This week also sees the start of the FEI Dressage European Championships for Youth (U25, Young Riders, Juniors, Children and Ponies), which are taking place in Pilisjaszfalu in Hungary until August 27. Both Jumping events at CSIO Zduchovice and CSIO Wierden were due to be part of this year’s FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Youth series, but while the series itself will not be held this year, organisers were determined that they would still put on their shows.
 
The great news is that fans from around the world can tune in to watch these young stars in action via the FEI’s YouTube and Facebook channels! Action from Zduchovice is on Thursday, with Wierden on Friday.
 

Zduchovice
A record 144 athletes and 249 horses representing eight countries are on the start list for this week’s competitions at the picturesque Czech venue, around 60km south of capital city Prague. Youngsters from the host nation as well as Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Poland will compete in Children, Juniors and Young Riders events.
 
While the annual event is well established, 2020 was due to be the first time that Zduchovice was part of the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Youth series. Fans and athletes can look forward to great competition in 2020 and enjoy some fabulous Czech hospitality!
 
“The atmosphere in the whole riding centre seems to be great,” said Barbara Hassova, the event’s president. “People are relaxed, but also excited about the facilities, the food, the beautiful location and also the many different nationalities that make the whole experience culturally richer.
We expect the Nations Cup and the Grand Prix tours to be the most interesting and suspenseful."
 
“In terms of the other aspects, we pride ourselves by having really good Czech food in our restaurant. Therefore, we hope that this will also be a highlight for all the participants.”
 
It’s a bumpy road towards the 2020 event, which was due to take place in April but postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Organisers have been in close contact with the health authorities and have followed FEI rules very strictly, with every person entering the area having to fill in a COVID-19 attendance form.
 
So it’s just left to enjoy the fun and the competitions – although while there’ll be plenty to celebrate, social distancing rules mean there’ll be no shaking hands on the podium this year!
 
She said: “We are happy that the current COVID-19 situation in Czechia is good and therefore we were able to go ahead and create such an exciting and big event.
 
“This year we definitely have more international participants and more teams. For example, we are happy to welcome the Croatian and Italian teams for the first time. We hope that the number of participants and the variety of nationalities will continue to grow in the future.”

Wierden
It’s a milestone year for the Dutch Youngster Festival in Wierden, which celebrates its 25th edition in 2020. The venue, close to Twente in the east of the Netherlands, will host Pony, Children, Juniors and Young Riders competitions with the entries to be confirmed later on Wednesday. Last year, Germany won the Young Riders competition with Great Britain triumphing in Children, Juniors and Ponies.
 
Despite the challenges of staging an international event in the current climate, organisers pulled out all the stops to ensure it could take place safely in 2020.
 
“We have had very close contact with the authorities about safety, and they have checked that we comply with the rules. It is a lot of extra work, but we are very happy that the show is happening in these strange times,” said show secretary, Maartje Lanooy.
 
“It is important that there is a CSIO in 2020, especially for the youth, so we are happy to start the show today with the vet check. However, not all countries that usually attend the show are here now because of the pandemic.
 
“For every category (Children, Ponies, Juniors and Young Riders) at a CSIO the Nations Cup is the biggest highlight, and of course also the Grand Prix!”
The FEI Council announced in May that the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Youth Series 2020 would be cancelled.
However, the final in Opglabbeek in Belgium in September is scheduled to take place in September, in which all national federations can start.
 
The scheduled events in Wierden, Zduchovice, Ciekocinko (POL), Fontainebleau (FRA) and Lamprechtshausen (AUT) will still take place but not be part of the series.

Press Release by FEI