Tuesday 8 March, again, after a year’s absence due to the coronavirus, the imposing Docks Dome in Brussels was the setting for the equestrian sports gala of the year, where various athletes and teams were put in the spotlight. Our top athletes had the chance to win a trophy created by Ronny Paesbrugghe, a Belgian contemporary sculptor who has created some beautiful works of art.
In the course of an entertaining and glamorous gala evening in the presence of, among others, Ministers Ben Weyts and Valérie Glatigny, European Palace member Hilde Vautmans, BOIC President Jean-Michel Saive and FEI President Ingmar Devos, the winners of the awards were officially announced one by one! Belgium’s young riders were the first to receive three Rookie of the Year awards for their historic performance at the European Championships, where the Young Riders, Juniors and Children all won the European Championships.
After a festive evening full of love for the equestrian sport, the following top athletes took home an award:
Rookie of the Year (exceptionally 3 awards)
The Belgian Children jumping team that won gold at the European Championships: Estee Bomere, Yari van den Branden, Nikita van der Meerschen, Seppe Wouters and Brent De Schrijver. Chef d’Equipe: Jean-Jacques Matthijs.
The Belgian Juniors jumping team that won gold at the European Championships: Bart Jay Junior Vandecasteele, Anthony Philippaerts, Evelyne Putters, Aurelia and Tristan Guisson. Chef d’Equipe: Rik Deraedt.
The Belgian Young Riders jumping team that won gold at the European Championships: Emilie Conter, Thibeau Spits, Thibault Philippaerts, Maartje Verberckmoes, Alexander Housen. Chef d’Equipe: Rik Deraedt.
Horse of the Year
Quel Homme de Hus (Jérôme Guéry – Alexander Oancea – Gaetan Decroix) This stallion won bronze with the Belgian show jumping team at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Earlier Jérôme Guéry and him also won the 5* GP of Knokke Hippique.
Prize of the Jury
Manon Claeys: She succeeded in winning 2 bronze medals in Grade IV at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Team of the Year
The Belgian team of four-in-hand horses. This young but talented team, led by Mark Wentein, won bronze at the European Championships in Budapest. Drivers Glenn Geerts, Dries Degrieck, Sam Gees, Tim Stockmans are part of this Team of the Year.
Athlete of the Year
Michèle George: Our Grande Dame of Paralympic dressage. Michèle won gold twice in Class 5 at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. In total, she has now won Paralympic gold 5 times.
Performance of the Year – Equistar 2021
The Equistar 2021 goes to the Belgian show jumping team that made history with team bronze at the Tokyo Olympics: Pieter Devos, Gregory Wathelet, Jérôme Guéry, Niels Bruynseels and Chef d’équipe Peter Weinberg are the deserved winners of the trophy of the evening: the Equistar 2021!
Photo by Hippo Foto