CLARE BALDING TO PRESENT FEI AWARDS
Lausanne, 10 November 2009
Clare Balding, one of the world's most respected sports broadcasters, will present the new FEI Awards in Copenhagen on 19 November.
Clare, 38, has been part of the BBC's presenting team at the past three Olympics and Paralympics, as well as fronting all its live racing coverage. A former champion amateur jockey herself, Clare also evented and show jumped in her youth and has a wide experience and knowledge of equestrian sport. She headed up the BBC's coverage of this year's Alltech FEI European Jumping and Dressage Championships at Windsor Castle and the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championship from Fontainebleu.
Nominations for the prestigious new FEI Awards closed on 17 October. No less than 1200 competitors, organisers and grooms from the four corners of the globe in every sort of equestrian sport were nominated for one of the five Awards, and the final results, which are eagerly awaited, will be announced on 19 November.
The judges, who represent the global reach of the FEI, are chaired by FEI President HRH Princess Haya, who herself show jumped at Olympic level. The group also includes eventing and show jumping Olympian and multiple medallist Mark Todd, Dominican Republic dressage rider and judge Diana Ramos, Italian show jumping organiser Eleonora Ottaviani and German vaulting champion Kai Vorberg, along with representatives from key FEI sponsors, Alltech and HSBC.
All the judges have extensive experience in the horse world on many levels, making them the perfect adjudicators for these awards, which have been designed to reward the fair play, team spirit, inspiration and prowess that equine competition espouses, as well as celebrating the outstanding achievements of our often-underrated athletes.
The five categories are:
* Athlete of the Year - for a rider, driver or vaulter who has shown exceptional sportsmanship and ability.
* HSBC Rising Star -for a rider aged 14-21 who has not only demonstrated significant talent but also a love of the sport and great commitment.
* Alltech Development award - for a development project, individual or organisation which has shown exceptional skill, dedication and energy in expanding the sport.
* Against All Odds - for a disabled rider of any age who has demonstrated that disability is no hindrance to sporting proficiency.
* Groom of the Year - for the often uncelebrated yet vitally important person who works behind the scenes.