German Olympic Eventing Gold Medalist Ingrid Klimke Declared FEI Best Athlete, Semmieke Rothenberger Named “Rising Star”

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Ingrid Klimke, Uno Yxklinten, Madeleine Broek, Semmieke Rothenberger, Zuxian Li and Yaofeng Li at the FEI Awards in Moscow. Photo: FEI

MOSCOW, Nov. 19, 2019–Double German Olympic eventing team gold medalist Ingrid Klimke was declared Best Athlete Tuesday while dressage youth star Semmieke Rothenberger of Germany was named the “Rising Star.”

Ingrid, 51 years old, an active dressage trainer and competitor in addition to eventing at five Olympics, received the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) award at a gala dinner in the Kremlin State Palace in Moscow.

She is the third German woman to win the Best Athlete award, the others being six-time dressage Olympic gold medalist Isabell Werth in 2017 and World Equestrian Games jumping champion Simone Blum in 2018.

Semmieke Rothenberger who at the age of 20 already has won 22 European Championship medals from ponies through to Young Riders, said:

“To win the Longines FEI Rising Star Award it’s really special for me as it sums up this year perfectly.

“What makes it really special is that my brother (Sönke, 2016) has won it before. So now we’ve got two people in this family who’ve won the Rising Star award. That just makes me very, very happy.

“My future goal, after following in the footsteps of my brother, is to compete in the Olympic Games. Now that’s a very big goal but it would be a nice thing to work towards.”

The Best Groom award went to Madeleine Broek in recognition of her efforts behind the scenes for Dutch jumping Olympian Marc Houtzager.

“It’s not really a job but a way of living and you get so much back from the horse, so that’s why it will never be a boring day or a boring week,” she said.

The Solidarity Award was presented to Uno Yxklinten of Sweden, Educational Leader of the first farriers’ training program in Zambia.

Zhenqiang Li of China received the Against All Odds Award. He was the first Chinese equestrian athlete to qualify for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. His horse Jumpy died from cancer in 2009 and he was in financial difficulties. He recovered and set up an equestrian center in Guangzhou.