Nick Skelton, Groom Win Big at FEI Awards

Credit : FEI (twitter)

Tuesday 22 November - 15h47 | Ian Clayton/Press release

Nick Skelton, Groom Win Big at FEI Awards

Great Britain’s Nick Skelton, Individual Gold medalist in Show Jumping at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio with Big Star, has been awarded the Best Athlete award by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) at the organization's General Assembly in Tokyo, Japan. Skelton’s groom of more than 30 years, Mark Beever, shared the honours with him, taking home the Best Groom prize from the FEI.

 - Nick Skelton, Groom Win Big at FEI Awards

Sönke Rothenberger and Cosmo
Credit : Scoopdyga

Skelton’s riding career has spanned 38 years, and the 58-year-old overcame a serious injury in 2000 to come back to the pinnacle of the sport. In the past he has referred to his groom Beever as an complete professional who is on call 24/7 and is utterly dedicated to the horses under his care.

See a video of the two of them released by the FEI after the awards ceremony below. 

The other awards today are: 

~ The Against All Odds Award, for a person who has pursued his or her equestrian ambitions despite a physical handicap or extremely difficult personal circumstances, to Brazilian dressage rider Rodolpho Riskalla, who overcame a life-threatening illness to compete at the Rio Games

~ The Longines Rising Star Award, for a person aged 14 to 21 who demonstrates outstanding sporting talent and commitment, to young German rider Sönke Rothenberger

~ The FEI Solidary Award, in recognition of contributions to the development and expansion of equestrian sport, to the Fédération Royale Marocaine des Sports Équestres (Royal Equestrian Sports Federation of Morocco)

The FEI Awards were launched in 2009 to “put a spotlight on the men, women, young people and organisations that are making an outstanding contribution to the progress and excellence of equestrian sport – in or out of the arena.” They are open to nominations each year. 

 - Nick Skelton, Groom Win Big at FEI Awards

Rodolpho Riskalla and Caquel Aristocrata
Credit : Scoopdyga

Speaking at today's General Assembly ahead of the awards, FEI President Ingmar De Vos made remarks to the nearly 300 delegates present about the future of equestrian sports and the decisions taken at the meeting, notably the approval of proposed format changes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

“We all agree that we have the greatest sport on earth and this is for many reasons”, the FEI President said. “We excel when it comes to gender equality, but what makes our sport so great is the unique bond between human and animal, between man and horse. But it is this same unique value which makes our sport vulnerable.

“With the growth of our sport grows also our responsibility to continuously ensure the welfare of our athletes in order to safeguard the integrity of the sport at all times."

In closing, he added, “This was a very important General Assembly. We took crucial decisions for the future of our sport and I understand that not everybody was happy, but we followed a very democratic process and in the end there was a clear majority. There are no winners or losers in this debate. These new formats give us a huge responsibility and failure is not an option, so we need to work together with all our stakeholders to prepare for Tokyo 2020.”

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