PARA-EQUESTRIANS GET GRANT BOOST FOR LONDON 2012
Para-Equestrians bidding to compete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games can now apply for funding as part of a brand new grant scheme to help with training expenses.
Eurovestech plc, the pan-European development capital fund, has put up a €25,500 grant to support 15 equestrian athletes around the world as they prepare for London 2012.
The grants, which will be distributed by the FEI, will be available to riders who have not won medals at the Paralympics, World Championships or World Equestrian Games since 2004.
National Federations representing Para-Equestrians from smaller nations where funding is limited are urged to apply for the grants. The grants are available both to riders who compete on their own horses and those that compete on borrowed horses.
Interested riders should contact their National Federation with their competition and training plans before 15 August 2011.
"It's great news to hear of this initiative as the IPC is keen that a great number of athletes get the opportunity to compete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games across all sports, including Para-Equestrian," explained Chief Executive Officer of the International Paralympic Committee Xavier Gonzalez.
"Para-Equestrians from smaller nations find it especially difficult to secure the necessary funding for training, and with London 2012 now just around the corner it is vital that riders from around the world are supported in their journey to the Paralympics."
Para-Equestrian Dressage is the only Equestrian discipline that is included in the Paralympic Games, where it has been a regular fixture since Atlanta 1996.
In 2006, Para-Equestrian Dressage joined the ranks of the seven disciplines regulated by the FEI. The FEI was one of the first International Federations to govern and regulate a sport for disabled athletes.
"The Para-Equestrian medals at London 2012 will be hotly contested, just as they were at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky last year, when Para-Dressage was included for the first time," said Trond Asmyr, FEI Director of Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage. "The FEI, IPC and Eurovestech are very much looking forward to lending support to Paralympic hopefuls around the world who are now focusing on competing in Greenwich."
A total of 78 athletes will compete in 11 medal events at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, which will take place 30 August-2 September in the beautiful surroundings of Greenwich Park.
Dating back to 1433, it is the oldest Royal Park in London and part of the Maritime Greenwich area designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Founded in 1973, the United States Dressage Federation is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to education, recognition of achievement, and promotion of dressage. For more information about USDF membership or programs, visit www.usdf.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (859) 971-2277.