FEI Awards Gala 2014 in Baku celebrates equestrian sport, rewards winners-PHOTOS

  16 December 2014    Read: 1597
FEI Awards Gala 2014 in Baku celebrates equestrian sport, rewards winners-PHOTOS
A gala evening organized by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan (ARAF) was held at
The festive evening was attended by Princess of Jordan, Her Royal Highness Haya Bint Al Hussein, the newly elected FEI President Ingmar De Vos, ARAF President, Head of the State Border Service (SBS) of Azerbaijan, Colonel General Elchin Guliyev, Azerbaijan’s Deputy Prime Minister Elchin Efendiyev, Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov, as well as representatives of national delegations from over 100 countries.

The guests were shown videos and photos featuring the success of Princess of Jordan Haya Bint Al Hussein on the sports arena and as the FEI president, as well as in the equestrian sports in general.

Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein decided not to run for the third term of the FEI president, which she headed since 2006.

She delivered a speech at the event, thanking the hosting Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan for making the evening unique and glamorous.

"Baku is a striking city and wonderful backdrop for such a memorable event," she said. "Since the FEI awards began in 2009, we`ve traveled around the world, from Copenhagen to Taipei, from Rio De Janeiro to Istanbul, Montreal and now Baku, to recognize and celebrate greatness."

She went on to say that FEI awards reward not just the riders, but also the hard work, sleepless nights, devotion and love of all those who work behind the scenes to make it happen.

"The best groom award is one of those," the princess said. "It may not be the most glamorous, but it is by far, the most respected. We receive hundreds of nominations in this category each year and our social media platforms are filled with descriptions of amazing grooms. The grooms for this year have had many different careers, but clearly are made of the same mold - selfless and dedicated to their horses."

She went on to mention the FEI solidarity awards as being one of the "behind the scenes" awards.

"This year`s short-listed nominations for the FEI solidarity awards have shown just how powerful our sport can be, and how it can transform lives and communities for the better," she said.

Haya Bint Al Hussein also thanked the judges for their time, energy and enthusiasm, as well as everyone else who contributed to the equestrian landscape.

"Your time, your commitment and your motivation are what make this sport possible," she said. "We all know that horses are incredible creatures, and can help you find your strength wherever it lies."

A ceremony of awarding the best athletes in various categories was held as part of the gala evening.

The following athletes were awarded during the ceremony: Lambert Leclezio (Mauritius) became the winner of «Rising Star Award»; Jeroen Dubbeldam (the Netherlands) - «Best Athlete Award»; Jackie Potts (UK) - «Best Groom Award»; Equal Ark (Singapore) - «FEİ Solidarity Award»; Sydney Collier (US) - «Against All Odds Award».

Moreover, FEI elders also received honorary awards for their long-term contribution to the development of the equestrian sports in the world.

ARAF President Elchin Guliyev and Secretary General of ARAF Bahruz Nabiyev received a special award for the contribution to the development of the equestrian sports and for the excellent organization of FEI General Assembly.

Elchin Guliyev, for his part, presented Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein valuable prizes and her portrait.

The gala evening was held in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The guests tasted delicious national dishes and sweets, and also enjoyed a concert program with participation of performers of classical and folk music, pop and jazz.

The concert program was also remarkable for the performance of well-known opera singers Samir Jafarov and Fidan Hajiyeva accompanied by the State Chamber Orchestra of Azerbaijan named after Gara Garayev conducted by People`s Artist Teymur Goychayev, as well as the rhythm group of Honored Artist Natig Shirinov, jazz orchestra of Honored Artist Akif Suleymanbeyli and young singers Vagif Nagiyev and Elnur Guliyev.

The guests also enjoyed watching various dances during the concert. A well-known Italian singer In-Grid was the special guest of the gala evening.

At the invitation of ARAF, Baku hosted FEI General Assembly for the first time on Dec.11-14. The event was attended by 350 representatives of the Federation and distinguished guests from 110 countries, which is a record in the history of the FEI General Assembly.

The General Assembly of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) is one of the key events in the world of equestrian sport. The forum, which brought together representatives of all national equestrian federations, discussed and resolved the most important issues of all equestrian disciplines, funding issues, management, etc.

Moreover, as a result of voting of delegates of FEI General Assembly, Ingmar De Vos (Belgium) was elected the new president of FEI. De Vos will head FEI for the next four years.

Aside from that a gala dinner titled ‘Welcome to Azerbaijan!’ was held for the participants of the International Equestrian Federation’s General Assembly, organized by the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan (ARAF). Moreover, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein provided a cocktail evening for participants of FEI General Assembly in Baku.

The guests also enjoyed tours in Baku, during which they visited the Museum of Carpet, the National Flag Square, Heydar Aliyev Center and "Gala" State Historical and Ethnographic Reserve.

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