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An internationally important show-jumping event is to take place in the Chuchle Arena Prague in early May – the CSIO CET. One of the highlights of the event will be the Nations Cup, a team competition that will be the final rehearsal before the Tokyo Olympic Games for many of the teams.
The CSIO (Concours de Saut International Officiel) represents an exceptional sporting event. Along with the World and Continental Championships, this is the only other event that can officiate the Nations Cup competitions, in which riders compete in two rounds as a team under national colours. Taking part in this competition is both prestigious and very special for each of the riders.
“In these times of Covid-19, after many major events have been cancelled all around the world, this event has gained even more value. Fifteen teams are confirmed to come to Prague on the second weekend of May,” said Markéta Šveňková, director of the event organized by the Czech Equestrian Team.
National teams of Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovakia, and Sweden will take part in the Nations Cup on Friday, 7th May. Most of these teams have already qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Eight out of the twenty teams that will compete in the Olympic Games are coming to Prague next week.
The Japanese team representing the organising country has qualified automatically. Two show-jumping superpowers, Germany and the Netherlands, earned their ticket to the Olympic Games at the Tryon 2018 World Equestrian Games. The Swedish Team qualified on the same occasion, while another top European team, Belgium, qualified at the previous European Championship held in Rotterdam in 2019. The Argentinian Team are one of the winning teams of the 2019 Pan American Games and the Irish Team qualified among the best in the 2019 Nations Cup Finals in Barcelona. And last but not least, the New Zealand Team won a special qualification in their region.
An event in which riders competed for direct qualification was held in Budapest in 2019 and although the Ukrainian Team won at the time, the Czech Team was lucky because the Ukrainian team members had not accomplished the Minimum Eligibility Requirements for the Olympic Games by the end of 2019. The FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) then redistributed team quotas in favour of the second runner-up, the Czech Team, who had met the eligibility requirements.
„Spanish course designer, Santiago Varela Ullastres, appointed the course designer for this year’s Olympic Games by the FEI, will design the courses in Prague; this literally turns the CSIO CET event into a final rehearsal for all the teams that have qualified for the Olympic Games,” noted Markéta Šveňková.
The public will be able to watch the top performances of horses and riders representing several continents via a live stream. The Nations Cup competition on Friday and the Grand Prix on Sunday will also be broadcast on Czech Television. For the Czech Team this will be an opportunity to show their supporters at home how prepared they are for the 2021 season. The performance of the Czech Team members will be closely observed by representatives of the Czech National Federation, as they must decide which of the riders will represent the Czech Republic in Japan by the end of June. Four riders and horses will represent the Czech Republic, however only three horse and rider pairs will take part in each round of the Olympic competition, one rider and horse will be the reserve pair. Changes in the team composition will be possible after the first round.
Although there will be four Czech riders competing in the Nations Cup in Prague, five national team members will appear in individual competitions at the four-day event. The team members are: Emma Augier de Moussac, Anna Kellnerová, Aleš Opatrný, Kamil Papoušek and Ondřej Zvára. There are sixteen competitions scheduled to take place and the event is endowed with EUR 220,000 prize money. The event will climax with the Grand Prix on Sunday in which the most successful riders will win a share of the EUR 51,000 prize money. For more details see the event website www.csiopraha.cz.
Photo by Tomáš Holcbecher