Princess spurs on Asian event
published : 28 Nov 2019 at 04:20
newspaper section: Sports
Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya will take part in Asia's first equestrian championship in Pattaya, organisers said.
The Thai contingent, spearheaded by the Princess, will compete with participants from 15 countries and about 100 horses in three Olympic disciplines -- dressage, jumping and eventing -- in the FEI Asian Championships Pattaya 2019 at the Thai Polo and Equestrian Club from Dec 1-8.
Ingmar De Vos, president of the Federation Equestre Internationale, said: "As the representative of FEI, I have confidence in the potential of the Thai Polo and Equestrian Club and the hosting of the FEI Asian Championships Pattaya 2019, which is the first equestrian championship in Asia.
"Throughout the championship, riders from 15 Asian countries will be in Thailand to show their skills. More than anything, I will witness the graceful performance of HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya in the dressage discipline. For any rider, participating in this event is considered very prestigious."
The Princess has participated in several international events, including the SEA Games and Asian Games. She won a silver medal in the dressage team event at the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia.
Harald Link, president of the Thailand Equestrian Federation and chairman of B.Grimm, said: "We're honoured and proud that Thailand was selected by FEI to host the FEI Asian Championships Pattaya 2019.
"The Thai Polo and Equestrian Club, which is a world-class facility surrounded by the abundant nature of Pattaya, will welcome riders from all over Asia. This championship will have a historic number of participating riders, compared to the number of riders competing in the Asian Games. After two years of preparation, we are ready."
More than 5,000 participants, including riders and their families, trainers and referees, are expected at the event.
The competition is also expected to draw more than 10,000 spectators from all over the world. "The championships will not only secure Thailand as a world-class equestrian destination, elevate the standards of Thai equestrian to an international level and showcase world-class event organisation, but also present a great opportunity for riders to gain more experience, prove themselves to the world and prepare for the 2020 Olympics," Link said.
Equestrian has seen a rise in popularity in Asia. In Thailand alone, the sport has grown by 83 percent.
FEI international competitions from 2009-2018 saw participation of 89 percent more riders and 167 percent more horses.
In Asia, China has been playing a major role in popularising the sport, resulting in 30 percent growth of FEI international competitions since 2009.
The FEI Asian Championships Pattaya 2019 is open to the public. For more information, visit www.acpattaya2019.com.