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Eventing: FEI votes in favour of teams of three for the Tokyo Olympics

The general assembly of the International Equestrian Federation (or Fédération Equestre Internationale) has voted (November 22) in favour of changes to the four equestrian sports for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.  The decisions now go to the International Olympic Committee's executive board for final approval in 2017.

Under the new proposals, the number of athletes in national teams will be reduced from four to three, and the drop score, which previously allowed for a team’s worst score to be discarded, will disappear from the regulations.

As Marlboroughequestrian.News has reported, some local eventers thought these changes might go through and are worried that it will lower the standard of the Olympic eventing competition.

The use of a reserve combination for teams will remain in place, but will be even more important and will be a key element in ensuring horse welfare.

A total of eleven national federations - out of 107 represented - voted against this proposal: Albania, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Monaco, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Romania and Switzerland.

“This was a really important vote for the future of our sport if we are to increase universality in accordance with the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020,” said FEI President Ingmar De Vos.

“We need to increase the number of participating nations at the Olympic Games but within our existing quota of 200. Reducing team members to three per nation was probably the only way to boost the number of flags. Of course this now has to be approved by the IOC, but it opens the door to countries that previously could only see the Olympics as a distant dream."

“There were some national federations that didn’t agree with the proposal, but that’s all part of the democratic process.  Now we need to work together to make this a success.”

Voting on the proposed sport-specific changes to rules for the three individual Olympic disciplines—show jumping, dressage and eventing—was unanimously in favour.

The vote on changes to the Paralympic class saw one national federation, Great Britain, against the proposals.   The proposed changes are detailed below.

Marlborough riders and horses feature in British Eventing's 'season's best' list

British Eventing's list of the top twenty riders and horses for the 2016 season brings good news for Marlborough's New Zealand eventers.  Four local New Zealand riders feature in the top ten.

Andrew Nicholson is in second place (behind Britain's Oliver Townend.)  Tim Price is joint seventh, Sir Mark Todd is ninth and Jonelle Price is tenth.

And British Eventing's list of the season's top twenty horses is headed by three ridden by Marlborough's New Zealanders: top is Leonidas II (owned by Mrs Diane E Brunsden and Mr Peter Cattell - and ridden by Sir Mark Todd.)

 Second place goes to Classic Moet (owned by Mrs Trisha Rickards - and ridden by Jonelle Price.)  

And in third place is Ringwood Sky Boy (owned by Mrs Varenna Allen and Mr Tim Price - and ridden by Tim Price.)

The new proposed Olympic rules:
•    Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, no drop score
•    One reserve combination per team will be allowed. The reserve combination is an important element of the proposal in order to preserve horse welfare. If a reserve combination is substituted, it will incur a penalty for the team. The exact penalty will be finalized in the Olympic regulations
•    Maximum of two individuals per nation not represented by a team
•    Order of tests to remain unchanged (first dressage; second cross-country; third show jumping team; fourth jumping individual)
•    Olympic eventing to take place over three days (dressage test reduced to one day)
•    Technical level of the three tests to be defined as the “Olympic level”: dressage and show jumping CCI****; cross-country: 10-minute optimum time, 45 jumping efforts and CCI*** technical difficulty
•    Qualification of athletes/horses to be achieved on the same cross-country technical level to ensure implementation of the recommendations of the FEI independent audit in eventing
•    For the purpose of the team classification only: any horse/athlete combinations not completing a test can continue to the next test if accepted as fit to compete at the relevant horse inspection
•    For the purpose of the team classification only: penalties for the non-completion of a test for any reason, dressage =100 points, cross-country = 150, show jumping= 100
•    Rules for the individual event remain unchanged

Show jumping:
•    Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, plus one reserve combination, no drop score
•    20 teams (60 horse/athlete combinations)
•    15 slots for nations not qualified with a team (maximum one horse/athlete combination per nation)
•    Individual event will now take place before team event
•    Cut-off score: the exact cut-off and resulting penalty will be finalized in the Olympic regulations
•    The exact penalty for any horse/athlete combination that is eliminated, or does not complete their round for any reason, will be finalized in the Olympic regulations

•    Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, no drop score
•    Each directly qualified team may bring a reserve rider/horse combination, or horse only
•    One individual per nation not represented by a qualified team (no composite teams)
•    Determine team medals solely through results of Grand Prix Special (no longer a combination of Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special scores)
•    Introduce new “heat system” (including “lucky losers”) for Grand Prix: 18 individuals to qualify from Grand Prix to Grand Prix freestyle (best two from each of the 6 heats, plus the next 6 with the best overall results) 
•    8 top teams (24 starters) from Grand Prix to qualify for Grand Prix Special
•    Introduce new system for starting order in Grand Prix
•    Conduct Grand Prix Special to music

Para-equestrian dressage
•    Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, no drop score
•    Each directly qualified team is entitled to bring four horse/athlete combinations, of which three will have to be declared to compete on the team after the individual   championships test, in which all four will compete as individuals.
•    Maximum of two individuals per nation not represented by a team (no composite teams)
•    Determine team medals solely through results of team test (no longer a combination of team and individual test scores)
•    Top eight per grade from the individual test to qualify for the freestyle test
•    Order of tests: individual championship test, team test, freestyle
•    Team test to be set to music

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