By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Doubt was raised on Wednesday, October 7th, as to whether Brazil would be able to hold the equestrian events of the forthcoming 2016 Rio Olympics Games because of an ongoing delay in paperwork from the Ministry of Agriculture. The ministry, however, has said that there is zero chance of the competitions being held anywhere else but Brazil.
Luiz Roberto Giugni, president of the Brazilian Equestrian Confederation (CBH), said that the slow processing of health permits to allow competition horses both into, and crucially, out of the country was jeopardizing Rio’s chances of hosting the riding events.
“The alternative would be to hold the competition elsewhere that can receive the horses. It is a real situation that can happen. I had a meeting yesterday and already discussed that possibility,” Giugni told Veja, following the opening on Wednesday of the International Indoor Showjumping Competition at Hípica Paulista in São Paulo. He said the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) had given the ministry until the end of the month to resolve the situation.
The Ministry of Agriculture denies the possibility of the riding events being held in any other country apart from Brazil and adds the FEI has not issued any formal statement imposing a deadline. Although it admitted to delays in the processing the paperwork, it said the relevant documentation for the safe movement of horses could be issued 120 days before the event. The documentation will also meet the required European Union approval.
The equestrian competitions are due to be held at the Deodoro complex where riding test events have already been held. Taking place in August, the competitions were deemed a success but only included Brazilian horses. Earlier in the year, an outbreak of glanders disease, a deadly contagious disease which affects horses’ lungs, led to one horse being put down and others to be relocated. Authorities insist the infection was handled well and poses no further threat to animals or humans.