Following the announcement of the new dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (July 23 to August 8, 2021), sports federations are now considering the impact the postponement will have on their own sporting calendars.
For equestrian sport, the new Olympic dates will run in conflict with the 2021 FEI European Championships, which is held every other year. Next year’s Eventing Championship is scheduled to take place in Haras du Pin, France, Aug. 11-15. The other disciplines are scheduled to take place in Budapest, Hungary, Aug. 23-30.
When asked for date rescheduling feedback from the IOC, some federations — equestrian, as well as swimming, table tennis and triathlon — voiced a preference to hold the Olympics in the spring of 2021. While their request went unfulfilled, FEI President Ingmar De Vos praised the IOC for its swift decision-making in deciding new dates.
Today he issued the following response:
“While it was of course demoralising for everyone that the Games had to be postponed from their original dates in 2020, the decision was absolutely right in the current terrible global pandemic, but it is really good to have the new dates agreed so soon.
“The decision was taken in full consultation with all the International Federations, including the FEI, and we all had the opportunity to voice our opinions. Now, once the Covid-19 crisis is over, our athletes across both Games can get their training back on track with confidence, knowing exactly when they and their horse need to be at their peak.
“We are conscious of the fact that this has been a very complex decision for the IOC to make, with multiple factors to be taken into consideration. The athletes’ health and well-being across both Games, not just for equestrian sport, has to be the top priority, and we have all the protocols in place to protect our athletes – both human and equine – and help them to optimise their performance in the challenging climate we can expect in Tokyo.
“Of course there will be an impact on the international Calendar across all sports, and from an FEI perspective this includes four major European Championships, but we are already looking at ways we can minimise that impact. The remit for our discipline-specific task forces that are evaluating the impact of Covid-19 on the 2020 Calendar has now been expanded to cover 2021. Now we have confirmed dates for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we need to explore possible alternatives for a number of major FEI Events, notably the European Championships in Jumping, Dressage and Para Dressage in Budapest, and the European Eventing Championships in Haras du Pin, France. This process will be started immediately.
“We need to also look at deadlines for obtaining minimum eligibility requirements and extending the deadline for registration of ownership for Olympic horses and will announce those as soon as possible, but we have had confirmation from both the IOC and IPC that National Olympic and Paralympic Committees which have been allocated Olympic or Paralympic quota places will retain them despite the postponement of the Games to next year.”