This summer 2017 was definitely characterized by Meydan’s powerful entrance into the world of endurance. HH Sh. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum with the brand Meydan has always been very present in world endurance events… but this year he really spoke up! Many European organizing committees have been negatively affected by this strong presence from the UAE, infact the number of riders has decreased.
Today, most athletes prefer to go where they are paied to run instead of competing at home for a simple qualification. I was personally disappointed to see very short start lists in France, Germany and Italy… my own country. The truth is that we all live in a more and more globalized open market and everyone is free to take the best decision possible for the company’s sake and to develop.
I don’t feel like judging either the rich organizing committees or those who choose to go where they get more benefits or are paied to run.
Hypocrisy doesn’t belong to me and I’m sure that every organizing committee would have accepted financial support from any Gulf country. I would like to strike a blow for Gianluca Laliscia, the greatest manager in this field of all time. A man who was able to lead the discipline of endurance riding to high notoriety levels.
There will continue to be people who will prefer valuable stages for many reasons: work, necessity or simply virtue. While others will keep running the classical rides in Italy or abroad just for passion, without caring about selling their horses or money in general.
We just hope that qualifying rides will continue to exist around the entire world. If I could, I would devide the endurance world in two parts: professional riders on one side and amateurs on the other… this would attack the problem at its source.
However… hip hip hooray for sport!