The South African equestrian set is celebrating exciting times with the news that there’s a chance we could have a dressage team at next year’s Olympic Games in London.
This will be the first time in South African dressage history that South Africa are in a position to qualify a team for the Games.
South Africa forms part of the Olympic Group F for qualification to Olympic Games. The process required to qualify is to participate in an International competition with nations from Group F (Africa & Middle East) and Group G (South East Asia & Oceania) and that the best two teams from this competition will each be able to qualify a team to compete at the 2012 Games.
The original Qualification from Group F & G was to participate at the Pan African Games. It was realised that this was impossible for the nations in Group F & G due to travel constraints of horses and quarantine protocols.
With this in mind the International Olympic Committee together with the sports governing body FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale) changed the Qualification Event.
This event will also be a qualifying event for eligibility as set out in the Olympic Games eligibility protocol. The event will take place at Ermelo, Netherlands on 2 November 2011 and the nations to participate will be South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Each nation has to send a team of four members and our South African team will be made up of: Denise Hallion, Adriaan van Wyk, Zilla Pearse and Nicole Smith. Team manager/Chef d’Equipe will be Jennifer Neill.
The South African equestrian fraternity┬á has called on all South Africans to support our ground breaking team to qualify for London 2012 and then with the guidance and support of SASCOC┬áwe can work towards our first ever dressage team flying the South African flag at an Olympic games.