Great Britain’s William Fox-Pitt has been elected to the FEI Athletes’ Committee, which brings together a representative from each of the sanctioned disciplines. The role of these athletes is to “provide a voice to the athlete community within the global FEI decision-making process,” as well as serve on their discipline’s technical committee, over the course of a four-year non-renewable term.
The committee was introduced in 2014, with Daisy Berkeley acting as the first eventing representative. Elections were held online from the 29th of July until the 23rd of September, and 52 athletes from 26 countries put in a bid for the spot that Fox-Pitt would ultimately claim. Promisingly, there was a 100% increase in voter participation and a 160% increase in flag representation in the second iteration of these elections.
“The athletes’ viewpoint is central to the global decision making process,” said FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez. “This is a committee made up of athletes and voted for by athletes. The calibre and experience of the newly elected Athletes’ Committee is impressive and will ensure that the global athletes’ community has its say and actively contributes to the development of equestrian sport. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing Athletes’ Committee members for their tremendous work and support these past four years.”
Fox-Pitt is, perhaps, an obvious choice to represent his fellow eventers: he’s acted as rider representative innumerable times at three-day events, and has never shied away from speaking up in the face of adversity. With a degree in French — the official language of the FEI — and a continued competitive interest that’s paired with a smaller string of horses, there’s no time like the present for him to step into such a role.
In his letter of motivation for election, Fox-Pitt said, “I have been involved in the sport at a high level for many years and have seen it evolve over the decades. I understand the challenges that all equestrian sport — and especially eventing — faces in the coming years in order to develop and grow. I care passionately about eventing and want to see it continue to grow into a truly global sport that is appealing to new audiences, whilst maintaining its integrity, horsemanship and values.”
“Throughout my career I have developed a healthy relationship with those involved in the sport from a wide range of nations, both established and emerging, and in both hemispheres. […] I therefore believe I would be able to provide input that is broad in view and representative of the global rider base. I will be committed to working closely with riders of all nationalities, representing their voices over my own. Most of all, I want to see a cohesive and active relationship between riders and the FEI, and I feel that I would be well-placed to work positively with the eventing committee so that together we can serve the sport that we love.”
The complete list of elected athletes is as follows:
- Jumping: Cian O’Connor (IRL)
- Dressage: Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (ESP)
- Eventing: William Fox-Pitt (GBR)
- Para-Dressage: Angelika Trabert (GER)
- Endurance: Tarek Taher (KSA)
- Vaulting: Kristina Boe (GER)
- Reining: Francesca Sternberg (GBR)
Further information on the Athletes’ Committee and the elections is available here.