FEI General Assembly rekindles Tokyo issue, Smolders responds: 'Certificate Of Capability must be stricter'

FEI General Assembly rekindles Tokyo issue, Smolders responds: 'Certificate Of Capability must be stricter'

At the FEI General Assembly, which is in full swing at the moment, Steve Guerdat already managed to provide a strong plea that stirred up a lot of reactions. He asked for the return of the scratch result at Olympic Games. This is in the interest of the horses. Equnews spoke with Harrie Smolders and asked him about his position on this issue. "The problem is in the qualifications. Last Games there were too many riders who could not handle the level," said Harrie Smolders. 

According to Dutch show jumper Harrie Smolders, the format needs to be re-evaluated. "There is a need for a thorough evaluation of the events in Tokyo. I think the format needs to be looked at properly, if they are open for that of course. In the format in Tokyo, as a rider you couldn't afford to make mistakes in the team competition and unfortunately that was sometimes at the expense of the horse," said Smolders. 

"There were too many riders who couldn't handle the level. I understand that they want to give as many countries as possible the chance to start at the Olympics. But this should not be at the expense of the well-being of the horses," said Smolders. The show jumper is convinced that the minimum requirements for participation should be raised. "The Certificate Of Capability should be stricter. That is one of the main working points to work towards Paris 2024." 

The FEI previously reported that they will be tightening the Certificate Of Capability. Nevertheless, earlier this year a special competition was held in Hagen, Germany where horse and rider could earn their Certificate Of Capability. Countries such as China, Denmark, United Kingdom, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Morocco and Sri Lanka sent their contenders into the arena to ride for that ticket. Two of those riders who earned that certificate at this competition didn't even make it to the end of day one at the Olympics; someone was eliminated and someone retired. 

Then, of course, the question is raised whether that Certificate of Capability shouldn't only be given to horse-rider combinations that achieve relevant results in a CSI or CSIO competition. "The problem is really with the qualifications. Those need to be re-examined," Smolders concludes.