After a magnificent opening ceremony last night, the competition really started this afternoon with the compulsory horse inspection.
Some of the teams were less happy after vet’s results. One horse for Bahrain has been eliminated; two for Czech Republic and one for Hong Kong were withdrawn.
The press conference gave a full range of information, in particular about the track. Jaume Punti Dachs pointed out that the surface was a bit hard; he also mentioned that it will be a fast race, even if it is more technical than last year for the European Championship. His goal is to have all the horses in finish and to do well overally.
Juraj Bača (chairman of the board of x-bionic® sphere) explained that the track has been designed also to provide the photographers good places to take photos; “it was important to consider the needs of the journalists too”.
The course designer assistant, Vladimir Becker explained the absence of any hard ascents or mountain tracks and warned about conditions because of very dry season in Šamorín this year. Track designers preferred to stay around the city and design a track with different surfaces such as grass, fields and riverside. However, there is a prediction of rain during the competition.
Sabrina Ibañez noted that there are almost 300 journalists at this event; therefore they take a crucial role for whole Championship. This can be explained with the progress of endurance and its overall attractive character for everyone, even for children.
Mrs. Ibañez also noted that this sport has a lot of young riders for instance the Uruguayan rider Pilar Saravia who is only 14 years old and the Slovakian rider Michaela Supekova (17). Michaela pointed out that every horse is happy when the track surface is softer, therefore this race brings good conditions for animals.
According to the given information, this year’s championship features 7 new countries registered : China, Tunisia, Estonia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Thailand and Hong Kong (who withdrew at the Vet inspection), and other countries are back – Columbia.
The final numbers given by Mr Bandeira de Mello (FEI Endurance Director) are 45 nations, 26 teams, 132 competitors and 136 horses.
For its 1st world competition, Slovakia and x-bionix® sphere have already put great effort with the organization of this event, and like Juraj Bača said, “everybody who will finish will have won”.