Maria Ines Garcia Cuellar Speaks Out on IDRC Expulsion
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Maria Ines Garcia Cuellar admits she was “very surprised” at her expulsion from the International Dressage Riders Club in an effort by the group to force the International Equestrian Federation to accept their own candidate for a post on the powerful FEI Dressage Committee.
The Colombian rider was nominated by her national federation–as was Spanish Olympian Luis Lucio by his federation–to replace Margit Otto-Crepin of France as one of the six members on the Dressage Committee. Five of the members are from Europe, chairman Frank Kemperman of The Netherlands, Elisabeth Lundholm of Sweden, Thomas Baur of Germany and David Hunt of Great Britain as well as Margit, plus Anne Gribbons of the United States.
The IDRC nominated Great Britain’s Wayne M. Channon, its seretary general, to the post.
The FEI Bureau will decide at its meeting on Friday who to appoint to replace Margit Otto-Crepin, who had also served as president of IDRC.
Maria Ines, 47, has been a member of the Colombian Federation since 1996 and a member of the federation’s dressage committee in charge of issues of the type addressed by the IDRC. She joined the IDRC on June 15 this year.
“Yes, I was very surprised for this action against their active rider members,” she said in response to questions from dressage-news.com. “and in particular to one belonging to this part of the world.”
She said she was told by IDRC Presidnt Kyra Kyrklund that the IDRC General Assembly which met last month had decided to expel her and return her membership fee.
She offered to let the IDRC keep her membership fee.
“Money is not my main concern,” she said. “I would like to serve this discipline and bring our problems and ideas to the attention of those who work in the spirit of what the IDRC is for.
“I am sure that it would be very important to bring our concerns to the Dressage Committee of the FEI.”
She said she hoped dressage would quickly overcome the issue of representation at the top of the sport.
Maria Ines was a member of the Colombian team that won the bronze medal at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, last month, earning her nation a berth at the Olympic Games in London in 2012.
The Pan Ams have been at small tour but after London qualification must be at big tour level.
At a meeting of several nations during the Games to discuss how to deal with qualification, especially as the sense was that the majority of nations strongly supported maintaining the Pan Ams as the qualifying competition, Maria Ines proposed mixed small/big tour teams with weighted scores. The effect would be to continue to grow dressage in Latin America within the framewrk of the Pan Ams, the world’s second largest sporting event behind only the Olympics.