The International Equestrian Federation has launched the eight-week nomination phase for its 2016 Awards ©FEI

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has launched the eight-week nomination phase for its 2016 Awards.

Winners are due to be announced at the FEI Awards gala ceremony, which is scheduled to take place in Tokyo on November 22.

Launched in 2009 and presented by luxury watch company Longines, the FEI Awards are an annual salute to excellence, determination, resolve, courage and dedication.

In order to recognise and celebrate what the FEI describes as "the exceptional individuals and organisations that make the equestrian community so unique", the world governing body calls upon the public every year to nominate their heroes via the online platform here

"We are a global sport but we are also a way of life and a community with a very strong set of values," FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

"The FEI Awards honour everyone who make our sport happen and this has been shown time and time again in the thousands of nominations we have received since the FEI Awards were launched in 2009.

"This being an Olympic/Paralympic year, I am sure the performances and the dedication of so many individuals will add to the conversations around the heroes both in and out of the arena and I really look forward to discovering more inspirational stories that make our sport so unique.

"I encourage everyone to go to the website and nominate their heroes so that they can be recognised and celebrated by the global community."

The seventh edition of the FEI Awards was held last year ©FEI
The seventh edition of the FEI Awards was held last year ©FEI

Awards will be presented in five categories; the Longines Rising Star, the Best Athlete, the Against All Odds, the Best Groom and the FEI Solidarity.

The Longines Rising Star Award is for a person aged 14 to 21 who demonstrates outstanding sporting talent and commitment. 

"For a number of years we have been strongly supporting young sportswomen and men active in the disciplines we are associated with, such as equestrian sports, alpine skiing and tennis," said Juan-Carlos Capelli, Longines vice-president and head of international marketing.

"As we conceive our partnerships on a long-term basis, we are keen to contribute to further to the development and outreach of the sports we are involved in.

"The Longines Rising Star award will be presented for the fourth time to a young talented equestrian athlete between 14 and 21 years.

"The recipient will succeed to the previous outstanding laureates: American rider Reed Kessler, Mauritian vaulter Lambert Leclezio and British rider Jessica Mendoza."

The Best Athlete Award celebrates the one who has demonstrated exceptional skills in the arena over the last 12 months, and has taken equestrian sport to a new level, while the Against All Odds Award acknowledges people who have pursued their equestrian ambitions despite physical issues or extremely difficult personal circumstances.

The Best Groom Award is dedicated to the vital behind-the-scenes team members who work 24/7 to ensure their horses get the best possible care and attention, and the FEI Solidarity Award will be presented to an equestrian development project, or an individual or organisation that has demonstrated skill, dedication and energy in expanding equestrian sport.

Nominations for the 2016 FEI Awards are set to close at midnight on September 18.

More than 350 guests from the global equestrian community are expected to attend the gala ceremony in Japan’s capital, including representatives from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the FEI’s National Federations from around the world.