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“We received over 100,000 votes and were overwhelmed with the response to this year’s Awards”, FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.
“We have incredible athletes, with remarkable stories, and this year we had the highest number of nominations from more countries than ever before, which clearly shows the universality of our sport.”
So without further ado, the winners of the Longines FEI Awards 2017….
This first award of the evening recognises a young athlete under the age of 21 who has shown exceptional promise and success in their short time in the sports.
Previous winners have included Jessica Mendoza and Reed Kessler, with last year’s top prize going to Swedish superstar, Sönke Rothenberger. So the competition is fierce!
Yes, the younger brother of the legendary Bertam Allen, at just 16 years of age he has been climbing through the ranks, clinching Double Gold at the European Pony Championships in Hungary this summer.
With the driving force of the Allen pedigree behind him, it’s no real surprise that he has a talent with horses. With an overwhelming majority vote from both the public and judging panel, he tells us:
“It feels great to with this award - I couldn’t believe it when I saw the figures of people who voted for me!”
We can expect big things from this young man in the future…
This award always touches the heart. It’s one which recognises the strength, determination and drive to overcome some of the most difficult challenges life can throw at you.
Rodolpho Riskalla took home the award last year in an emotional presentation that got him a standing ovation.
This year was no exception and Emma’s story of recovery after a horrific traffic accident left her paralysed from the waist down at just 22 years of age touched the public and judges alike.
She was awarded her prize by a surprise guest - the new president of the International Paralymic Committee, Andrew Parsons, as well as the Secretary General of the FEI, Sabrina Ibáñez.
The project’s objectives are to develop equestrian sports in India and increase participation by providing a larger pool of suitable horses and provide the necessary tools to retrain racehorses for equestrian sport.
There’s a huge scope with the project to other national federations as there are millions of horses around the world who have retired from racing these horses are often very young with a long potential life after racing ahead of them.
The undisputed queen of Dressage, the German superpower is this year’s deserved winner of the Best Athlete Award.
With a slew of Golds to her name, including current FEI European Championship, FEI World Cup and Olympic medals, she shown no signs of slowing down.
A real inspiration to the next generation of Dressage athletes, Isabell is a legend and a well-deserving winner of this year’s award.
Unfortunately she could not attend the awards ceremony as she was at a charity event in Germany at the time, but she sent a video message instead, stating that;
“To receive the best athlete award is really fantastic it makes me really proud, really happy to get this support from so many people and that they’re really behind me and they respect what we have done in the last months”
Finally, after being one of the most frequently nominated people for this award over the years, Alan Davies takes home the top prize for Groom of the Year!
“Words can’t describe how I feel, it’s just amazing!”
The man behind the legendary Valegro and Nip Tuck, he was over the moon to hear of his win, and to top things off, there was an added surprise as Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester sent him a personal thank-you in a touching video message to top off the evening.
It was a truly inspirational and emotional evening that saw some of the finest people in our sports share the spotlight for pursuing their dreams and never giving up.
Text by FEI
Images by FEI/Richard Juilliart