Lausanne (SUI) - The FEI Driving World Championships, due to be held behind closed doors in Valkenswaard (NED) from October 7-11, have been canceled due to increased case numbers of COVID-19 in the Netherlands. The decision to cancel the Championships, which were for four-in-hand horse teams, was made by the City of Valkenswaard.
“It is devastating that the FEI Driving World Championships at Valkenswaard have had to be cancelled at the last minute, as everyone involved has put in so much effort to try and make them happen,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said, “but sadly the new government restrictions in the Netherlands make it impossible for the Championships to go ahead next week.
“The start list for the Championships was looking very strong in such a challenging year for our sport, with 13 nations lined up to take part, including eight with full teams, but it is clear that health considerations have to take priority.
“We have done everything possible to hold these Championships, including looking at a possible alternative venue in Germany, and we are very grateful for the proposal we received, but regrettably it is simply not feasible given the short timeframe, ongoing concerns around COVID-19 and restrictions imposed by the authorities.”
The United States of America, which won gold on home ground at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon (USA), was not going to be defending its team title as they had just one driver heading for Valkenswaard, but Australia’s Boyd Exell, who took the individual title on the final day in North Carolina two years ago, was aiming to defend his crown.
Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands and Poland were all due to send teams to the Championships, while Austria, Romania, Switzerland, Uruguay and the USA were the five nations sending individuals.