Campanella and Bechtolsheimer Running for Seat on FEI Dressage Committee as Riders' Representative

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 00:08
FEI Dressage News

Italian Grand Prix rider Anna Paprocka-Campanella and British Olympic medallist Laura Bechtolsheimer are the two candidates running for a seat on the FEI Dressage Committee as riders' representative.

For the first time in the 93-year history of the FEI, the athletes themselves have the opportunity to vote for their FEI Athlete Representatives.

“Our athlete representatives play a vital role in the governance of equestrian sport, acting as a voice for all our athletes and actively shaping the FEI’s global development, so it is only right that the athletes themselves should decide who will represent them," explained Ingmar De Vos, FEI Secretary General. “We are encouraging all our athletes to take this opportunity to cast their vote on these key ambassadors for equestrian sport.”

The election will take place via a secure online voting platform here, where the curriculum vitaes of all athlete candidates will be available for review. Voting opened today (15 April), and will remain open until 1 June (23.59 CEST).

The appointed FEI Athlete Representatives in each discipline will also form the FEI Athletes’ Committee when the FEI’s Technical Committees require feedback and proactive input on areas relevant to all FEI athletes. FEI registered athletes, aged 18 years and over, and who are included on their respective Ranking Lists from 31 December 2013, will be eligible to vote for their Athlete Representative.

Campanella and Bechtolsheimer in the Running

Two candidates declared their intent to run for the FEI dressage committee seat as rider representative, replacing Kyra Kyrklund. They are Anna Paprocka-Campanella and Laura Bechtolsheimer-Tomlinson.

The Polish born Anna Paprocka-Campanella has a university degree in Economy and Marketing with the graduation thesis in Public Relations in Crisis Managment. She also has a university degree in Law with a postgraduate course in the Civil Law. She has trained with Holga Finken, Hubertus Schmidt, Anky van Grunsven and Ulla Salzgeber. As a young rider she competed at the European Championships in Helsinki. As a senior she participated in the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, the 2007 and 2009 European Championships, and she qualified as an individual for the 2008 Hong Kong Olympics.  She has trained youth riders Micol Rustignoli, Victoria Zaniboni, Meghenzani Flori and her own daughter Alice Campanella.

"Dressage is my passion," Campanella told Eurodressage. "After 20 years pursuing a successful business career I left that behind to devote myself to dressage. I currently have a stable where I train my own competition horses and also train both senior and youth riders. I have seen the sport from many aspects and have very relevant business experience which I believe will result in my being able to make a significant and positive impact on the Dressage Technical Committee."

When asked which changes she hopes to make to the sport if she were elected on the Committee, Campanella replied, "firstly I want to develop the sport as broadly as possible amongst all age groups and geography. I will look for solutions which allow for the modernization of the sport to encourage increased public appeal and geographic participation without jeopardizing the fundamental characteristics of the sport. Secondly I want to promote transparency in all aspects of the sport, including governance, judging and commercial development. This will insure confidence among all stakeholders thus resulting in increased cooperation amongst stakeholders."

Campanella concluded that "my personal philosophy is to look for win- win solutions. Only solutions which are attractive to and widely accepted by all parties bring ultimate success. My business experience promoting new brands and developing strategies has given me the skills to find such solutions."

German born British Olympian Laura Bechtolsheimer-Tomlinson won her first team silver medal at age 14 at the European Pony Championships. It was the beginning of an illustruous career as one of the world's most successful  dressage riders.  She made her first senior team appearance in 2006 in Aachen aboard her father's Grand Prix hrose Douglas Dorsey. Her senior team deebut was on Mistral Højris in 2007 after having competed him in the bronze medal winning Young Rider team in 2005.

Aboard Mistral Hojris Bechtolsheimer competed at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong, she won team silver and individual GP Specialbronze at the 2009 European Championships. In 2010 she won 3 silver medals, 2 individual and 1 team at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. She also won the British National Championships on Andretti H, Anna Campanella's former top horse. In 2011 she won team gold at the European Championships as well as an individual bronze medal. She also became 2011 National Champion for the second time with Andretti and she won the World Cup qualifier at Olympia. Her career highlight she achieved at the 2012 London Olympics with a team gold and an individual bronze medal.

Laura was awarded an MBE and is currently pregnant of her first child with husband Mark Tomlinson.

IDRC Does not Support New Approach of Voting for FEI Rider Representation

"The IDRC is not supportive of this approach as, on superficial inspection, it appears to be democratic but in fact takes accountability and representation away from riders," IDRC secretary-general Wayne Channon told Eurodressage.

"Once a rider is appointed to the Dressage Committee they are just a rider on the Dressage Committee - they have no need to account for their actions to other riders, there is no requirement for them to represent the views or the best interests of the majority, in fact they can act purely in their own self-interest.  I am not suggesting that any rider would act this way but that is the way the appointment works," Wayne explained.

The IDRC believes that the rider on the Dressage Committee must have the responsibility and charter to represent the views and opinions of riders in general and act in the best interests of all riders.  "They should be accountable to riders for their actions.  They need the ability to coordinate with international riders and communicate with rider.  Riders need a way to putting their views collectively and that is the IDRC," Channon stated.

"Without a formal relationship between the individual rider on the FEI Dressage Committee and the IDRC, then all we have is a rider on the Dressage Committee not a rider representative on the Dressage Committee," Channon concluded.

The results of the elections will be announced on 17 July 2014.

Text and Photos © Astrid Appels

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