Friday marked the start of the one-year countdown to the Opening Ceremony of the World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy, France.
World championships in jumping, dressage and para-dressage, eventing, driving, vaulting, endurance and reining will be held from August 23 to September 7, 2014, at venues in Caen, the prefecture of the Calvados department in north-western France, the country’s oldest national stud farm at Haras du Pin, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mont Saint-Michel.
The streets of Caen are expected to overflow as Normandy opens its doors to 1000 international competitors, their families, trainers, more than 1000 horses, 1200 journalists and more than 500,000 fans and spectators from 60 countries for 16 days of world championship sport, from August 23 until September 7.
Dr Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech, the title sponsor of the games, said WEG 2014 would make history as the largest equestrian event ever held on French soil.
“We are proud and delighted to be a part of this one-world event for the second time, having become the event’s first title sponsor through the last edition of the Games in Kentucky in 2010,” he said.
To celebrate the one-year countdown, the FEI has launched an online history hub dedicated to the World Equestrian Games which contains detailed information about each of the previous Games, starting with the inaugural edition in Stockholm in 1990, through to Kentucky 2010 and looking forward to 2014. Along with a summary of the Games’ most memorable moments, the website features key facts and figures, complete results, and extensive photo galleries.
“The FEI is working very closely with the Organising Committee of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy to ensure the best possible conditions for the athletes – both human and equine – the officials, numerous spectators, volunteers, and the media,” FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos said.
“Two successful test events in edurance and eventing were organised just last week, and there is another one in driving currently being held, followed by a chef de mission meeting next week. Preparations are on track as we enter the last organisational phase. We are confident that France, one of the world’s leading equestrian nations, will stage truly memorable Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy.”
For 2014, Alltech is actively supporting tourism to Normandy. In April of this year, Alltech welcomed 30 of its Official Games Partners to France from 27 countries. But for the Games, 40 Alltech Official Games Partners will return, with hundreds of their clients and families. Alltech will also organize one of its most important annual conferences in Normandy in 2014, gathering more than 500 international dairy and beef farmers in the region during the Games.
Over the course of the next year, Alltech will increase staffing at its newest office in Caen, drawing about 100 employees from around the world to support its sponsorship efforts. In France, Alltech is also expanding its sales force and has invested in a three-year digestive equine research project with the AgroSup Equine Masters Program in Dijon, France.
“The title sponsorship is now a part of the company’s DNA, and our brand ambassadors, all 3000 of our employees, are actively spreading the excitement about the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy in 128 Alltech countries around the world,” said Catherine Keogh, chief marketing officer at Alltech.