Monday, 19 April 2021
Endurance GB has announced that it is abandoning plans to send a British team to the Longines FEI Endurance World Championship scheduled to take place in Pisa, Italy on 22nd May.
"The absence of clear steps towards travel both into and out of the UK for a sport not designated as 'elite' for the purposes of the UK Covid Regulations means that riders have to abide by the rules currently applying to international travel for holiday makers and while the earliest possible date for foreign travel was previously given as 17 May, timings have not been confirmed. Uncertainties around a traffic light system set to be announced in early May involving as a minimum, testing for travel to green light countries but with a 10-day quarantine for countries on the amber and red list, have also played into the decision.
Four qualified riders from Great Britain had hoped to the go to the Championships; USA-based Carmine Villani, who is ranked number one in the world, along with three members of the 2019 European Championship squad Nicki Thorne, Rachael Atkinson and Annette Masterson.
Endurance GB Chair Phil Nunnerley said: “The challenges of travel restrictions both into and out of the UK for a sport not recognised in the UK as elite and concerns for the well-being of riders, officials and crew, travelling to an area still facing its own tight restrictions in the face of the continuing number of COVID cases, have led to this very disappointing but perhaps inevitable conclusion. With the earliest possible date for foreign travel being 17 May leaving a window of just five days before the competition, as well as the likely traffic light status of the region hosting the championships, have given us no alternative.”
Rosemary Attfield, Chair of Endurance GB’s International Committee said: “We have been monitoring the situation in close contact with our riders throughout the winter and we have been ever hopeful but finally all arrived at the same conclusion that team representation at these championships was impossible.
“All being well with COVID restrictions lifted, we will be fielding a team for the FEI European Championships at Ermelo in The Netherlands, starting on 6th September. We will be planning to send five senior riders with their Chef D’Equipe, Fiona Bloom and her management team.”
Riders and horses up for selection who are already qualified for the European Championships in September are; Kate Atkinson (DNS Ronaldo), Rachael Atkinson (Tannasg Psyches Realm), Annette Masterson (Shoshana), Sarah Rogerson (Warrens Hill Rubyn), Nikki Thorne (Kamillcia) and Carmine Villani (Nigel and Najar Ruspine plus others residing in the USA).
A further five combinations require just one more successful three star completion before 5 July for consideration for team selection. They are James Dickinson (Magdy), Chris Wray (Peponi), Nikki Malcolm (Oso Spirraling Wind), Laura Graham (Warrens Hill Farrah), and Fiona Griffith (Balishla) with a further nine combinations waiting in the wings requiring two three star completions to qualify to compete at the Championship.
The Young Rider World Championship is set to be staged at Ermelo on 10 and 11 September and Team GB already has one qualified rider at this level in Saffron Bishop (Ty Shute Golden Savannnah) with two other young riders hopeful of competing alongside her at with their Chef D’Equipe, Andrea Champ and her management team.
Endurance GB’s FEI ride calendar is set to commence at Royal Windsor Horse Show on Friday 2 July.
Meanwhile, it has been announced that the Chefs d’Equipe of the Home International squads have been reviewing their options for the Home International Championship 2021 in view of the delays in the relaxation of travel restrictions and the inability to hold competitions across the devolved administrations and Eire due to Covid 19. The chefs of the Irish and Welsh teams have concluded that they will not be able to get ready in time for Cirencester (due to be held from the 9 - 11 July).
Esther Young, Endurance GB’s Director of Operations said: “Endurance GB is now considering alternative venues for the Home International later in the year, and we hope to announce the new venue as soon as we can.”
In view of the Home International Championship being moved from Cirencester, the venue has agreed to host the 2021 Inter Regional Championship for a further year.
Esther Young said: “Cirencester has been the home of the Inter Regional Championship since 2017 and has proved a very popular venue for competition and we are very grateful to Steve Bates for offering to welcome back teams from across the country once again.”