Sunday, November 19, 2023

Saudia Arabia: Al Ula will host 2026 World Endurance Championship

Inside.FEI.org

A+ for the FEI World Championships 2026 as Aachen and Al Ula confirmed as hosts

19 November 2023
Author: FEI Communications

There will be two destinations in 2026 if you are looking to attend an FEI World Championship; Aachen in Germany for the lion’s share with Jumping, Dressage, Para Dressage, Eventing, Driving and Vaulting set to take place from 10 to 23 August 2026; and Al Ula in Saudi Arabia for Endurance on 17 October 2026.

Aachen is renowned internationally for its CHIO, which dates back almost a hundred years and offers excellent facilities and flawless organisation to the world’s best riders and thousands of spectators, who flock to the Soers venue evey summer. In 2006 – exactly 20 years prior to the FEI World Championships 2026 – Aachen hosted the fifth edition of the FEI World Equestrian Games™, the major event where from 1990 to 2018 World Championships in all the FEI disciplines were held at the same time at the same venue. The Aachen Games were a remarkable public and sporting success and attracted no less than 576,000 spectators generating unprecedented media coverage.

“We thank the FEI for their trust,” CHIO Aachen General Manager Michael Mronz said. “We feel honoured and pleased to host, together with the German Equestrian Federation, the FEI World Championships Aachen 2026 in six disciplines: Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Vaulting and Para Dressage. Already today we would like to invite the entire world of equestrian sport to Aachen so that we can celebrate an unforgettable event together in 2026.”

Al-Ula is an ancient Arabic oasis city in the Medina Province, located approximately 1000kms northwest from the Saudi capital Riyadh. It is a place of extraordinary beauty as well as rare human and natural heritage going back 200,000 years of largely unexplored human history. Al Ula, which is undergoing spectacular development as a nature, cultural, education and sporting centre, hosts the annual Fursan Endurance Cup, which attracts some 200 horses and riders from over 40 countries to each edition.

“The Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation and the Royal Commission for Al Ula have collaborated to secure this honourable hosting opportunity,” HH Prince Abdullah Bin Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Saud, President of Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation, said.

“This responsibility weighs greatly upon us, and we are confident that Al Ula will deliver an authentic and unprecedented sporting experience within a unique and fascinating context. We are diligently preparing for an event of this calibre, aligning with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030," he concluded.

“We are proud to have been awarded the FEI Endurance World Championship 2026 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, at Al Ula,” Ziad Abdulrahman Al Suhaibani, Head of Sport Sector at the Royal Commission for Al Ula, declared.

“The majestic county of Al Ula has proven to be an ideal destination for endurance rides, boasting a technical track immersed in evocative natural beauty. Sport and equestrianism stand as pivotal elements in Al Ula's socioeconomic development.”

“The allocation by the FEI Board of the FEI World Championships 2026 to Aachen and Al Ula is a significant decision for the future of equestrian sport,” said FEI President Ingmar De Vos.

“We examined every aspect of the bids we received and especially the sporting infrastructures, the conditions for the horses, accessibility and sustainability. The FEI is delighted to have secured such outstanding hosts for our most prestigious Championships three years in advance, which allows plenty of time for preparation and planning.

“I would like to congratulate the winners, who submitted outstanding bids. We are all well aware of Aachen’s unique track record of organising extremely successful large-scale events. We were impressed with Al Ula’s proposal, which not only contains all the components of a successful event but seeks to showcase the heritage and potential of an entire region.

“And last but not least, I would like to thank all the bidders, who took part in this process for their strong bids and commitment to the sport. It was not easy to choose between such strong bids. We hope that those who didn’t get it this time will consider bidding for future events.”

In addition to the FEI World Championships 2026, the FEI Board allocated the FEI European Championships 2025 in Dressage, Driving, Endurance, and Vaulting. Details will be available in the wrap-up report, which will be issued following the meeting.

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