Baku to be in FEI's memory as city where organization's new president was elected
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 13
By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:
Baku hosts General Assembly of International Equestrian Federation (FEI). Trend Agency's interview with the FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos.
- Mr. Ingmar De Vos, frist welcome You to Azerbaijan. How do You assess the importance of FEI General Assembly in Baku?
- We are very happy to be here in Baku for this General Assembly. It's not just the assembly, it is only one part of the program. During four days in Baku we will have all kinds of sessions. The program also includes meetings with regional groups, with participation of national federations from different regions. We will also have sessions on rules, as well as a lot of discussions with our stakeholders and national federations, to prepare our General Assembly, which will take place on Sunday, Dec. 14.
- This year FEI will elect a new president. How does it increase the significance of the event?
Yes, the FEI presidential elections will also be hosted, as regretfully, the term of Princess Her Royal Highness Haya Bint Al Hussein as president came to an end and she didn't seek for next term. So, there will be an election, with five candidates. This is very important for our federation. Baku and Azerbaijan will probably be in the memory of our organization as the place where the new FEI president was elected.
- Is it Your first visit to Azerbaijan? If yes, we would like to know Your impressions?
This is first time for me to come to Baku and to Azerbaijan and I am very impressed by the country first of all and also the hospitability and warm welcome that we received from the Azerbaijan National Federation and people here. I must say from infrastructure, from welcome that this is one of the most beautiful general assemblies that we have ever had. So we are very happy to be here.
- How do you assess the development level of equestrian sports in Azerbaijan and world in total?
- There is an increase in Azerbaijani riders and athletes participating in equestrian sports. I have very good memories of Jamal Rahimov, whom I know personally, who competed in a lot of events in Europe. I think Azerbaijan has very good riders with bright future. This type of sport is developing across the globe as well. We have not only increase in number of events, but also increase in number of athletes, registered horses, and we're seeing more nations organizing very important competitions. I was recently in China, and we are seeing development in Asia as well.
The World Equestrian Games, held in the US in 2010 were watched by over 2 million television viewers, and this year's Games in France gathered over 5 million of viewers. So not only the number of people, but also the number of competing countries and the interest from the global media, including television, are increasing. For the moment we have 132 national federations that are affiliated and there will be at least one more that will be accepted as an "additional member" during the General Assembly. So we are increasing the number of national federations, the number of countries that want to become members of our federation, and we're very happy about that.