Aachen CHIO Postponed from June to Later this Year, Olympic Task Force to Draw Up New Schedule for Tokyo in 2021

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Laura Graves of the United States riding Verdades in the Deutsche Bank Stadium at the World Equestrian Festival CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle at Aachen. File photo. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Mar. 25, 2020


The International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday creation of a task force called “Here We Go!” to work out a new schedule for the Tokyo Games delayed by one year to 2021 by the coronavirus pandemic. The CHIO in Aachen, Germany, regarded as the world’s premier horse show with Nations Cup of dressage, eventing, jumping and driving also reported Wednesday postponement from the first week of June to later this year, but did not give a new date.

IOC President Thomas Bach told a news conference with reporters around the world that the decision to postpone the Games from the July 24-Aug. 9 schedule was sparked by “new alarming information” on the rapid spread around the world of the coronavirus named COVID-19.

Consultations with the 33 international federations–including equestrian that includes dressage, eventing and jumping–will be made quickly on the options for the 2021 to “take into account the sports calendar around the Games and many, many other issues.”

Decisions on a new schedule for Tokyo that, he said, were the best prepared Olympic city ever should be made as soon as possible, but he was unable to provide a timeline.

“This is like a huge jigsaw puzzle,” said Thomas Bach. “Every piece has to fit. If you take out one piece the whole puzzle is destroyed. Everything has to come together.

“Having seen proof of the professionalism and dedication which made Tokyo the best prepared Olympic city ever, we are really confident we can can master this first ever challenge. The Games have never before been postponed; we have no blueprint. But we are confident we can put a beautiful jigsaw puzzle together.”

Questions from Japanese media indicated possible issues over venues, including the Olympic Village to house thousands of athletes that is scheduled to be turned into residential apartments for people to move into in 2023.

The Aachen CHIO that was set for June 1-7 will be postponed to later this year. The German Grand Prix championships that were scheduled for Balve in mid-May and along with Aachen is critical for Olympic and championship team selection has already been put off to the fall.

Aachen show is regarded as the premier annual global equestrian event of the Olympic disciplines of dressage, jumping and eventing as well as driving and also includes vaulting.

“For quite some time now, we have already been in intense communication with the International Equestrian Federation FEI, the German Equestrian Association, the authorities and our partners,” said Frank Kemperman, chairman of the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein e.V. (ALRV), organizers of the CHIO, and Michael Mronz, general manager of the CHIO marketing company, the Aachener Reitturnier GmbH. “Taking the current Coronavirus crisis into account, the aim behind these discussions is to weigh the options of what is the best solution for the CHIO Aachen and for all of the visitors, athletes with their horses, partners and staff of the show.

“It makes no sense to stick to the planned date, the current and future health and safety of all persons involved in the show has absolute priority for us,” said Frank Kemperman. “Our primary goal is thus now to organize the CHIO Aachen at a later date in the year.”

The postponement of Aachen that is usually staged in July but was scheduled a month earlier this year because of the Olympics is one of more than 40 international dressage shows around the world that have been canceled or postponed because of the coronavirus panedemic.

In Germany, Hagen Horses & Dreams that is the traditional opening event of the western European outdoor season in April was postponed while Wiesbaden was canceled. The CHIO of Nations Cups in dressage and jumping in Rotterdam was canceled.