Praise for Sports Minister after Blair Castle wins bid to host 2015 FEI European Eventing Championships
Saturday, 09 June 2012
June 9 - Sport and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson has been praised after Blair Castle in Scotland was chosen to host the 2015 FEI European Eventing Championships.
It was selected despite a proposal from Aachen to host a European Equestrian Games that year, encompassing all the disciplines.
FEI, the international governing body who award the major events, decided to give the German spa town which staged a successful World Equestrian Games in 2006 five of the six disciplines, including eventing, dressage, showjumping, driving, vaulting and reining.
But it awarded the eventing to Blair Castle, which stands in its grounds near the village of Blair Atholl in Perthshire and has a history dating back to 1269.
The decision followed a presentation by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), whose delegation was led by Robertson and chief executive Andrew Finding and also included Stuart Turner, the events director for EventScotland and Rebecca Edser, an events consultant at UK Sport.
"The 2015 European Eventing Championships is one of the most prestigious international sports events to be staged by the UK as part of the 2012 major events sports legacy," said Robertson.
"Having been part of the presentation team, I am delighted that we have been successful and sure we will deliver a fantastic event."
The Castle provides the garrison for the Atholl Highlanders, the private army of the Duke of Atholl, the only legal private army in Europe.
Blair Castle International Horse Trials and Country Fair is Scotland's leading equestrian event, running over four days in August each year and attracting in excess of 37,000 visitors.
But this will be the first time that Blair Castle has hosted a major senior championships.
"This is tremendously exciting news and we at Atholl Estates look forwards to the continued development of this great event and build on the experiences of hosting the FEI Young Riders European Championships on several occasions in recent years," said Sarah Troughton of Atholl Estates.
"We look forwards to welcoming Europe to this most spectacular and historic part of Scotland in this all important pre-Olympic year."
The event director will be Alec Lochore, currently the eventing manager for London 2012.
He was part of the delegation which presented Blair Castle's plans to the FEI.
"Our aim is to work with the FEI to put on a truly memorable event at Blair in 2015," said Lochore.
"We believe this would continue the legacy of 2012 and inspire a new generation of riders; it's a tremendously exciting prospect."
It will be the first time the event has been held in Britain since 2005 when it was staged at Blenheim and Zara Phillips (pictured), the Queen's granddaugther, won the individual title on Toytown ahead of team-mate William Fox-Pitt.
"It was a privilege to lead such a highly professional bid team and I know that the backing we have enjoyed here, combined with the level of professionalism and care that goes into our eventing community, will ensure this translates into a wonderful Championships," said Finding.
"No longer are championships won on the basis of 'Buggins's turn'.
"This was hard work made so much easier with the personal support of Hugh Robertson MP who flew out to the FEI's Offices in Lausanne to join our presentation.
"The team at UK Sport and EventScotland added huge practical value; I want to thank them all. It worked well and we are delighted to be going to Blair Castle in Scotland in 2015."
August 2011: Blair Castle among bidders for 2015 European Eventing Championships