Excitement is mounting for the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championship at Fontainebleau (FRA) on 23-27 September with a thrilling line-up of 18 nations who have nominated riders, of which 11 could form teams.
France is renowned for its stylish international events, but this is the first time the internationally popular venue of Fontainebleau, with its splendid, historic chateau, has held a Senior Eventing Championship since the "alternative Olympics" in 1980.
The European Championship, held biennially, began in 1953, and since its inception, Great Britain has been the most successful nation, winning 20 team golds - including the last seven - and 17 individual golds.
Despite this lengthy dominance, the Brits will have a serious fight on their hands from the Germans, the reigning Olympic and World Champions. Germany has not won team gold for 40 years, an anomaly they will be out to correct and are seen as the strong favourites.
Even though France has won team silver 7 times since 1993 and individual gold with local hero Nicholas Touzaint in 2007, they have yet to win team gold. With the added motivation of being on home ground, they will be doing everything in their power to thrill their audience and go for team gold.
Giles Morgan, Group Head of Sponsorship at HSBC commented, "HSBC is proud to be a Platinum Partner of the FEI and the title sponsor of the European Eventing Championship 2009 in Fontainebleau. This is the first year HSBC has supported the Europeans and we are looking forward to a great competition which brings together nations from around Europe."
The nations with nominated entries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Spain and Sweden.
The Ground Jury at Fontainebleau is headed by President David Lee (IRL) assisted by Anne Mette Binder (DEN) and Michel Asseray (FRA) and anticipation is building about the new-look cross-country course designed by French maestro Pierre Michelet.
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