Opening ceremony today with many personalities
“I am very honoured to open the 37th edition of the European Jumping Championships. Best of luck to all of you”. With these words, Sabrina Ibáñez, secretary general of FEI (International Equestrian Federation), officially opened the 2023 FEI Jumping European Championships, taking place at the Snai San Siro Racecourse from today until Sunday September 3, before receiving a floral tribute from Fabio Schiavolin, managing director of Snaitech and president of the Organising Committee of these ‘Italia. Open to Meraviglia – Fei Jumping European Championship Milan 2023‘.
Milan indeed hosts another great sport event in this summer of international sports, and does so in a breath-taking setting, between the Citylife skyline and the monumental and natural beauty of the San Siro ‘Horse Theatre’. A veritable parterre de rois for the opening ceremony of this European championships: the aforementioned Ibáñez and Schiavolin, Attilio Fontana, president of the Lombardy Region and Giuseppe Sala, mayor of Milan, together with Marco Mezzaroma, on his first official occasion as the new president of Sport e Salute, Paolo Bellino, managing director and general manager of Rcs Sports & Events, of course Marco Di Paola, president of Fise (the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation) and in the stand, Martina Riva, municipal councillor for Sports, Tourism and Youth Policies.
The ceremony began in a Milan ‘kissed’ by the sun, with a parade through the competition ‘venue’ and the line-up of the 85 riders representing the 24 participating nations (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Spain, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Slovakia, Sweden, The Netherlands Turkey, Ukraine and Italy, the host country). The ceremony continued with the institutional greetings, the raising of the flag with the guard of honour, followed by the Italian national anthem before the official opening speech.
An eagerly-awaited event of great prestige and tradition, with a strong international connotation, given the many foreigners from all over Europe present in the stands of the Snai San Siro racecourse. An event with top-level television coverage by RAI Sport HD and Sky that will broadcast live over the four days of the FEI Jumping European Championship 2023, for a total of almost 25 hours, in view of the Olympic games, given the three tickets up for grabs for Paris 2024.
Attilio Fontana, President of the Lombardy Region: “It is a great joy to be here at the opening ceremony of this European Championship. We see the materialisation of an idea launched three years ago, and in three years it has been realised. Congratulations to the Organising Committee and to the Federation that have put so much effort into bringing this great event to Milan. Milan and Lombardy have been and will continue to be venues for great sporting events, which we see as means of promoting this region, our organisational skills and our beauties. It will be a great event”.
Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan: “Thank you for this act of trust in Milan; we will try to deserve it by hosting this great event in the best possible way. The weather will apparently give us a hand and that is fundamental. It is a path that will lead us to the Olympics: another opportunity to confirm how fundamental sport is for Milan and its inhabitants. Those who live in the city want to practice sports. It will be an opportunity for interaction and promotion of the city. I promise that my entire team will do everything possible to make this event live up to expectations in view of other major events in Milan and in Lombardy”.
Fabio Schiavolin, CEO of Snaitech and President of the Organising Committee: “Welcome to everyone, as President of the Organising Committee I welcome 24 nations from around the world to this ‘Italia. Open to Meraviglia – Fei Jumping European Championship Milan 2023’. It is an important event that the city of Milan has built over the years, thanks to a wonderful example of public-private partnership. It is an extraordinary opportunity for the city and for sports for Milan, that will become a fixed appointment in the coming years. It is also a source of pride for me as Snaitech’s CEO, because we have owned this facility for 120 years, and we have been working for seven years on its redevelopment and relaunch, completing with this jumping event what we call the horse theatre. Happy European Championship to all and Up with Milan!”.
Marco Mezzaroma, President of Sport e Salute: “Allow me a small personal aside, today I am particularly pleased to begin here my public journey as president of Sport e Salute. It is truly a privilege to be here in this facility that is an icon of sport, history and culture not only for Milan but for Italy as a whole. Sport e Salute is delighted to have been able to participate in the organisation of this magnificent event. The public-private partnership for the promotion of sports activities starting with national and international events is a tool that must be absolutely developed. We must aim for the top in the field of sports in general, but we really have to start from the bottom and thus create the conditions for everyone to be able to practice sports”.
Paolo Bellino, managing director and general manager of Rcs Sports & Events: “I would like to thank all our partners and the Italian government in particular, which has significantly supported us in this event, then the Region and the Municipality. But I would also like to say a big thank you to our staff, for their incredible job over the last few days, battling against the rain and adverse weather conditions. It is really thanks to them that we are here today in this top-class competition field. I hope that all the athletes can find here the best conditions to be able to express themselves and to compete at a high level in this great European Championship”.
Marco Di Paola, President of the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation: “I join in the expressions of gratitude, because we have an enormous support from the Government, the Department of Sport and the Ministry of Tourism, through the Region and the Municipality. I thank the FEI, which believes in Italy and always believes in this wonderful nation, showing every time their complete trust in us. We have 24 nations competing in this European Championship, there are three Olympic slots for Paris 2024 and this makes everything more beautiful and exciting not only for riders but also for viewers. My last greetings and thanks go to our athletes and to their horses, their wonderful competition companions”.
Sabrina Ibáñez, FEI General Secretary: “It is an absolute pleasure to be here in Milan for the 37th edition of the Fei Jumping European Championship. We are truly honoured to be in this fantastic and vibrant city full of culture and tradition. The economic engine of Italy. We hope to see many more great events here in the future. This event is extremely important because it is one of the last opportunities for a European nation to qualify for the Olympics in Paris: three places are available and six contenders are competing. Among them Italy. Best of luck and see you in Paris for the Games next year. Thank you very much”.
(In the picture from left to right: Sabrina Ibáñez, Attilio Fontana, Giuseppe Sala, Fabio Schiavolin, Marco Mezzaroma e Marco Di Paola – ph. Massimo Argenziano)