Olympic 2020 equestrian test event will take place in the Japanese capital next week, with the ruling Olympic Eventing champion Michael Jung set to top the bill. The 37-year-old German is one of 17 athletes from four nations who will contest the event, running from August 12 to 14 at both the Baji Koen equestrian park and the brand new Sea Forest cross-country venue. Olympic Dressage followers from all over the world can buy Olympic Dressage tickets online.
Jung told inside the games in an exclusive interview that he was very looking forward to seeing the facilities in Tokyo. Besides trialing services such as data handling and inter-venue transport, the event should afford competitors – and organizers – an opportunity to gauge how they and their mounts will handle the city’s high summer heat and humidity, though cloudy conditions are currently forecast.
As well as Germany, riders from Australia, Great Britain and hosts Japan will take part in the competition, with Andrew Hoy and William Fox-Pitt among other well-known riders expected to feature.
International Equestrian Federation President Ingmar De Vos said he could not remember “a time when we had such a high caliber of athletes and horses for the Olympic test event”.
De Vos, predicted that the competition would be “really special”. Baji Koen hosted equestrian events at the last Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 1964 and the venue has undergone an extensive refurbishment.
The sport does have its hardships, however: Jung’s biography page on the International Equestrian Federation website includes a broken collar-bone, a broken arm, sustained in October last year, and a chipped tibia that required two screws to be inserted in a subsequent operation.
Since the Second World War, equestrianism’s Olympic presence has been remarkably stable, comprising six events three individuals. Three teams with the sole exception of Rome 1960 when there was no team dressage.
Competition among sports for the best possible slice of the Olympic pie is intense, however, and with the International Olympic Committee moving to an event-based assessment of the Games programmer, one wonders whether these days of stability are threatened.
When I ask Jung about the security of his sport’s Olympic place, he is candid enough to acknowledge that “I think it is always a bit on the borderline. He goes on, however: I think it is a nice sport. I hope it will always be in the Olympics. I think it will be much more difficult,” he says.
Finally, with the UK and marquee events such as Badminton and Burghley so important for the game of Eventing, I feel I must ask Jung if he is concerned about any impact Brexit might have.
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