FEI General Assembly Votes In Favor Of Olympic Rule Changes

Nov 22, 2016 - 4:25 AM
Most national federations voted for changes at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Photo courtesy Richard Juilliart/FEI.

The Fédération Equestre Internationale General Assembly voted Nov. 22 in favor of the proposed format changes for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which will now go to the IOC Executive Board for final approval in 2017.

Under the new proposals, the number of athletes in national teams will be reduced to three, and the drop score, which previously allowed for a team’s worst score to be discarded, will be removed. 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 11 of national federations, out of 107 represented, voted against the proposal—Albania, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Monaco, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Romania and Switzerland.

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

The vote on the Paralympic formats saw one national federation, Great Britain, against the proposed changes.

“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 after the vote. “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,” he continued. “Now we need to work together to make this a success.”

The proposed changes are detailed below:

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

Dressage:

  • 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

Eventing:

  • 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

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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