In a strongly male-dominated national and federation sporting scene, the management of the Italia. Open to Meraviglia – FEI Jumping European Championship 2023 running until September 3 in Milan at the ‘Horse Theatre, the Snai San Siro racecourse, is characterised by a clear woman’s touch not only at the sport level, but also in terms of planning and organisation.
On the other hand, this is a sport in which women and men ride in the same competitions. And may the best man win.
From Laura Campopiano, manager of Snaitech and event director of the first major equestrian sport event in Milan – the Milano Jumping Cup – and of the European Championships, to Sara Riffeser Monti, publisher, organiser of major events in equestrian sports and beyond, sport director of the European Championships, of Piazza di Siena and venture twin of Campopiano, with whom she took up the challenge of bringing elite equestrian sports back to Milan from day one.
We asked them about their excitement for the final take-off, i.e. the organisation of a European Championship, passing through the MJC first with three and then with four stars. “When the secretary general Sabrina Ibanez” recalled Campopiano “officially opened this European Championship, I saw in my mind the last few years of this challenge and all the people who have taken it up at the speed of light, from the first steps in the realisation of the Milano Jumping Cup up to this goal, the highest possible at the continental level. I tried to contain my emotion, but it was impossible, believe me”.
We were talking about the ‘twinning’ between Campopiano and Sara Riffeser Monti. Here it is: ‘I could make Laura’s words my own because the sensations I had are very similar. Chasing the highest goal is a natural thing in sports, both on a competitive and on a project level, and I can’t forget all the challenges we have faced so far, from bringing equestrian sports back to Milan with Fabio Schiavolin to this extraordinary adventure of the European Championship. Yes, I am really very happy now’.
Already since the four-star Milan Jumping Cup, RCS Sport, FISE and Sport e Salute had come on board on the Horse Theatre stage in Milan. Sport e Salute featured Valeria Panzironi, lawyer and Director of Strategies, Development and Shared Services in the organising committee of the European Championship. This has been an immersive experience for her in all the aspects of the construction of the event, in perfect harmony with Riffeser and Campopiano: ‘Being involved in the planning and implementation phase of this European Championship has been fun and particularly significant, because it is a turning point in my professional career in the world of sport. A path that has broadened my perspectives, literally taking me into the field to measure myself in an activity that goes beyond my traditional experience and in the direction of a more strategic and planning managerial role’.
In this city and in this region, sport is governed by women, from Lara Magoni, the Region’s Sport and Youth undersecretary, to Martina Riva, the gutsy councillor for Sport and Tourism of the Municipality of Milan, very committed to supporting this Championship and the other major sporting events of the Milanese summer; so, it seems quite natural for this European Championship to have a female ‘technical government’. “What makes me most proud” reflects Riva, “is that, for the city of Milan, international-level sports have become almost a natural fact and an integral part of our social fabric regardless of the discipline. This means that, in recent years, we have been working in the right direction”.