World Games Teams at Tryon to Remain at 4 Combinations, To Be Cut to 3 at Tokyo Olympics
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TOKYO, Nov. 22, 2016–Teams will stay at four for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in 2018 after the International Equestrian Federation withdrew a proposal to cut the number to three but adopted the new reduced size for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Maintaining dressage, jumping and eventing team sizes at four with three scores counting and the lowest dropped for Tryon was approved without any opposing votes at the annual General Assembly at which 75 of the FEI’s 134 member nations were represented, with another 31 voting by proxy.
Germany, Great Britain and the United States were among several nations that opposed a reduction in team sizes at the World Games to be held in North Carolina Sept. 10-23 2018.
The new Olympic format was opposed by France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, New Zealand, Albania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Luxembourg, Monaco and Romania.
The FEI initially attempted a major overhaul of both the Olympics and the WEG that was designed to increase the number of “flags” by cutting team sizes.
While the proposal was accepted for dressage, eventing and jumping at the Olympics in which equestrian sports is often concerned over the cost and perceived elitism as popular urban sports seek a place on the world stage, the World Games are regarded as the sport’s centerpiece event.
The vote Tuesday means that organizers of the Tryon WEG have assurance as to the format and number of participants. Tryon hopes to match the 2014 Normandy, France WEG that had a record 74 nations with 984 athletes, 1,243 horses and 574,000 spectators, though 428,000 tickets were sold for sporting events.
Normandy events were widely separated and vendors were located away from the main stadium while more than $125 million has already been spent building the Tryon International Equestrian Center with dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining and vaulting as well as para-dressage all staged within one facility.
The Normandy WEG had 100 starting combinations, of which 87 were on 24 teams with individuals from seven other countries making up the total.
Olympic dressage is allocated 60 starting combinations at Tokyo, the same as in Rio de Janeiro this summer.
Specific changes for Olympic dressage are:
–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, meaning no composite teams;
(no composite teams);
–Team medals decided solely through results of the Grand Prix Special, dropping the recent format of a combination of Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special scores;
–Introduction of a 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 six heats, plus the next six with the best overall results;
–Eight top teams (a total of 24 starters) from the Grand Prix to qualify for the Grand Prix Special;
–Introduce a new system for starting order in the Grand Prix, and
–Grand Prix Special will be ridden to music provided by the rider but the music will not be judged.
The FEI will work with the International Olympic Committee on implement the format changes for Tokyo.