Australia Equine Flu Complicates 2008 Olympic Team Qualification

The 2007 Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) regional Olympic dressage qualification event, which was scheduled to take place Oct. 24 through 28, is among the hundreds of equestrian events that have been cancelled as a result of the equine influenza outbreak.  

Teams of riders from Australia, New Zealand, and Japan were supposed to compete for the two team dressage slots allocated to the Asia-Pacific region for the 2008 Games. Japan and New Zealand have never fielded a team of four dressage riders at an Olympic Games. Australia was represented by a team at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and participated with two individual riders at the 2004 Games in Athens..

The affected national federations have negotiated to reschedule the Olympic qualifying event to early 2008. The FEI has agreed that, instead of transporting horses to Australia, the five judges that make up the ground jury will travel to competition venues in France, Australia, and New Zealand in late January and early February 2008 to make their assessments.

Shortly after, the FEI will announce the two Asia- Pacific region nations that have qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

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