India to host World Dressage Challenge to resume equestrianism post COVID

The Equestrian Federation of India, with help from the Indian Army, will host two events in Delhi and Bengaluru.

By Rahul Venkat

Equestrian is all set to resume in India post the COVID-enforced break with two World Dressage Challenge events, the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) said on Saturday.

The first competition will be organised at the Army Polo and Race Course (APRC) held in capital New Delhi on November 4 and 5. Another event is scheduled to be held at the ASC Riding & Polo Academy (ARPA) in Bengaluru, Karnataka on November 7 and 8.

India will field 80 participants in total, 40 in each event, which is double the number of riders usually allowed per country.

The EFI will take all steps to ensure maximum safety for both riders and horses with a comprehensive COVID protocol put in place. It is in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

In a bid to create more awareness about equestrianism in the country, the Indian Army has volunteered to help with the logistics. The army will provide the requisite infrastructure, manpower, medical and veterinary support for both events.

The World Dressage Challenge (WDC) is a developmental initiative by the FEI to provide international-standard competition for less-experienced dressage riders.

The event will allow young riders and riders who under normal circumstances, cannot take part in international competition, to brush shoulders with some of the best talents across the globe.

There will be an individual and team dressage event and there will be participants spread across two age groups, 12-16 years and 16-plus.

The events help riders get featured in the world ranking according to performance, while there is also a regional ranking system at such tournaments.

Equestrianism is gradually gathering steam in India and the move to host the events in India has come at an appropriate time.

For the first time in 20 years, India is set to have an equestrian representing the country at the Olympics after Fouaad Mirza qualified for his Games debut earlier this year.