Adelinde Cornelissen Awarded FEI Best Athlete

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An ecstatic gold medal-winning Adelinde Cornelissen on the awards podium at the European Championships. © 2011 Ken Braddick/

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov. 15–Adelinde Cornelissen of The Netherlands, the top dressage rider in the world on Jerich Parzival, has been awarded the Reem Accra Best Athlete Award by the International Equestrian Federation.

The award to Adelinde, 33, was one of five made to women at the conclusion of the annual General Assembly of the 133 national federations that are members of the body that governs horse sports world wide.

The FEI cited the “spectacular season” for Adelinde and Parzival.

The Dutch duo won all World Cup five qualifiers they competed in before dancing to victory to the sound of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite at the Final in Leipzig, Germany in April.

At the European Dressage Championships in August, she won the individual freestyle and the individual Grand Prix Special before an elated crowd in Rotterdam.

“Equestrianism is one of the only sports in which men and women compete as equals and we are proud of that,” said FEI President Princess Haya.” But the accomplishments, dedication, determination and courage of our winners really stood out among the many nominations–male and female–that we received. Adelinde, Alice, Nina, Meg and Soraya are an example and an inspiration to the entire equestrian community.”

The other winners were:

– HSBC Rising Star Award – Nina Lamsam Ligon who has dual Thai and U.S. citizenship and competed in eventing the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships;

– Development Award – Soraya Ourrais of France for effortsto restore equestrian sports in Cambodia;

– Best Groom Award – Alice Gaillard of France who at age 75 has groomed for top eventing riders, and

– Against All Odds Award – Meg Wade of Australia whose fall from a horse during an Endurance race in 2009 left her with a traumatic brain injury that led to hospitalization for almost a year, but has since returned to riding and teaching.