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It's Games On at Aachen.....Louise Parkes Previews the 2006 World Equestrian Games

As 2006 gets underway, attention is fully-focused on the World Equestrian Games which take place in Aachen, Germany later in the summer. LOUISE PARKES, European correspondent for PhelpsSports.com, looks at some of the facts and figures surrounding the fifth equestrian world championships......

Former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroder, said that "the equestrian World Championships are of equal value as the FIFA World Cup 2006" and the organisers of the World Equestrian Games, scheduled to take place in Aachen from August 20 to September 3, are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to ensure a superb two weeks of equestrian sport.

Famous for its historical connection with King Charlemagne and for its hugely prestigious annual horse show, Aachen is Germany's westernmost city in the corner where Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands meet, and many of those attending the Games will do some border-crossing as they travel to and from their accommodation each day. In fact while the showground, which covers 22 hectares, will accommodate all seven disciplines - a first in itself - the Endurance riders will ride through all three countries while negotiating their 160km course, with the main Vet Gate in Holland.

A massive €17million building programme has seen extensive renovation and modification to the original structures, and the new riders’ grandstand, which incorporates a state-of-the-art press centre and seating for more than 5,000, has been further enhanced by the new landmark judges’ tower. Speaking at Geneva show in December Frank Kemperman, Show Director for WEG 2006, admitted that there had been problems with the main arena footing in 2005 so the entire surface has been relaid. It will look very different indeed this summer as the main ring will include a sand arena for dressage, with the show jumping taking place on the grassed area around that. Driving and eventing dressage and show jumping will take place in arena two, with the eventers and driving marathon competitors then crossing the road into what used to be a car-park for the cross-country phase, while reining and vaulting will take place in a third ring which will have a specially-constructed temporary roof in place for the duration of the show.

For the first time in the history of WEG, show jumping will take place over five days as the team competition will be run over a two-day period. Kemperman said this was deemed necessary to avoid the possibility of a repeat of the fiasco in Jerez in 2002 when the early group of riders steered their horses round the track in a thick fog. It is not possible to legislate for such an occurrence and Kemperman said it therefore made sense to run the team event over two shorter days than one extremely long one.

Tickets are already sold out for ALL jumping competitions and there are none left for the final day of dressage either, hardly surprising in a country in which show jumping is second only to soccer in terms of popularity with the general public.

THE STATISTICS

DISCIPLINES - 7 in total - Show Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Vaulting, Endurance and Reining.

ATHLETES - 800 in total - Jumping 120; Dressage 80; Eventing 85; Driving 50; Vaulting 250; Endurance 170; Reining 45.

HORSES - 875 in total - Jumping 125; Dressage 80; Eventing 100; Driving 250; Vaulting 95; Endurance 180; Reining 45.

MEDIA - 1,000 journalists, 300 photographers.

VISITORS - 500,000 expected in the city of Aachen during the two-week fixture.

STADIUMS - Three on Aachen showground - Stadium 1 has capacity for 40,000 spectators, Stadium 2 with 8,000 seats and Stadium 3 with capacity for 5,100.

BUDGET - Total - €36.8 million. €19.8 millions has been budgeted for operational costs. This is sourced from a combination of business partners' contributions, ticketing, hospitality and merchandising. €17 million invested in construction. The Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia subsidised the building work undertaken by €7.5 million, while the Federal Government has provided an additional €2.5 million. The remaining €7.4 million has been funded by the organisers, Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein e.V (ALRV).

INJECTION INTO LOCAL ECONOMY - Expected contribution of €230 million to local economy.

TICKETS - 300,000 already sold.

TV - EBU-agreement finalised in 2003 - 60 hours national TV coverage, live transmissions in 40 countries, broadcast into more than 130 countries.

VOLUNTEERS - 1,400 required.

PRIZEMONEY - €1,353,000. Breakdown - Jumping €650,000; Dressage €200,000; Driving €144,000; Eventing €162,500; Endurance €97,500; Vaulting €26,000; Reining €65,000.

PREVIOUS WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES STAGED IN:

Stockholm 1990, The Hague 1994, Rome 1998, Jerez 2002.

NEXT WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES:

Kentucky 2010

THE REIGNING CHAMPIONS

SHOW JUMPING

INDIVIDUAL - Dermott Lennon (Liscalgot) Ireland. TEAM - France

DRESSAGE

INDIVIDUAL - Nadine Capellmann (Farbenfroh) Germany. TEAM - Germany

EVENTING

INDIVIDUAL - Jean Teulere (Espoir de la Mare) France. TEAM - USA

DRIVING

INDIVIDUAL - Ijsbrand Chardon, The Netherlands. TEAM - The Netherlands.

VAULTING

INDIVIDUAL - Men - Matthias Lang, France. Women - Nadia Zulow, Germany. TEAM - Germany

ENDURANCE

INDIVIDUAL - Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed al Maktoum (Bowman) UAE. TEAM - France

REINING

INDIVIDUAL - Shawn Flarida (San Jo Freckles) USA. TEAM - USA.



WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES 2006 - PROGRAMME OF EVENTS

WEEK 1

Sunday August 20 - Opening Ceremony

DRESSAGE

Tuesday August 22 - Grand Prix, Individual Classification and Team Final

Wednesday August 23 - Grand Prix, Individual Classification and Team Final

Friday August 25 - Grand Prix Special, Individual Classification

Saturday August 26 - Grand Prix Kur, Individual Final

EVENTING

Thursday 24 August - Dressage, First Session, Team and Individual

Friday 25 August - Dressage, Second Session, Team and Individual

Saturday 26 August - Cross-Country, Team and Individual

Sunday 27 August - Show Jumping, Final Team and Individual

VAULTING

Thursday 24 August - First Round Compulsory

Friday 25 August - First Round Freestyle

Saturday 26 August - Second Round Compulsory

Sunday 27 August - Second Round Freestyle and Final

ENDURANCE

Monday 21 August - Endurance competition

WEEK 2

SHOW JUMPING

Monday 28 August - Training

Tuesday 29 August - Speed Competition, Individual and Team Classification

Wednesday 30 August - Team Final Part 1 and Individual Classification

Thursday 31 August - Team Final Part 2 and Individual Classification

Saturday 2 September - Top 25 Individuals

Sunday 3 September - Individual Final (Rotation of Horses)

CARRIAGE DRIVING

Wednesday 30 August - Dressage, Session 1

Thursday 31 August - Dressage, Session 2

Friday 1 September - Individual and Team Classification

Saturday 2 September - Final, Individual and Team

REINING

Friday 1 September - Round 1

Sunday 3 September - Final

Louise Parkes covers Ireland, Great Britain and Europe for PhelpsSports.com

Look for the debut of PhelpsSports.com in late August. PhelpsSports.com, a new and highly innovative subscription equestrian sports website, will offer equestrians and fans of equestrian sports from around the world, a single web address for the latest breaking news of the Hunter, Jumper, Dressage, Eventing and other High Performance disciplines. The website will include up to the minute audio reports, live video interviews and features from around the globe, photography, and the creative writing and reporting of some of the finest equestrian journalists in the world.

Phelps Sports.com will have complete coverage of the United States Equestrian Federation World Equestrian Games Selections Trials for Show Jumping from the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, Florida on March 21st through March 25, 2006.

 

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