Controversy is brewing in Spain with confirmation that the seven-week Sunshine Tour at Vejer de la Frontera will go ahead despite a heartfelt plea from the local mayor to postpone it due to escalating Covid-19 infections in the area.Mayor Francisco Manuel Flor Lara said the equestrian activity was incompatible with Spanish citizens currently being subject to stay-at-home orders, night-time curfew and restricted travel between regions. “It is not justifiable to organize such an event at this time, when we are asking the population to stay at home and not go out on the streets,” he said. “It is a very important event for our residents and the region, but we cannot allow it at this time.”The town has a population of 13,000. To keep visitors away from its famous beach at El Palmar, local government last year closed all but one access road and monitored properties used at holiday rentals.Huge numbers of European riders flock south to sunnier Mediterranean climes in January. The first of the tours at Vejer de la Frontera – founded in 1994 – is due to start on February 9 through March 28. The venue attracts 2,000 horses and 400 jumping riders from 40 countries, all vying for 38 rankings classes and Euros 2 million in prize money.The organizers say there will be strict safety protocols, as set by the Spanish health ministry and the Spanish equestrian federation. Riders must provide a negative Covid test 72 hours before arrival. Air purifying systems have been installed, communal areas will be disinfected and face masks worn.Justifying their reasons to proceed, organizers point out sponsorship from the regional tourism agency and prestigious companies and that is followed by fans in 200 countries. In a normal year it generates 25 million euros for the regional economy, according to a study by the University of Cádiz.A statement issued by the organizer also claimed this was “necessary sports planning,” providing qualifying competitions for the European and World Championships and Olympic Games, even though it is arguable whether more than a handful of riders genuinely in contention for upcoming championships are still actively seeking minimum qualifications.Spain has one of the worst shortages of Covid vaccine in the EU. Deputy head of Madrid’s regional government, Ignacio Aguado, said that his region will stop vaccinating new patients for two weeks to ensure others can receive their second doses. He said that at “the current pace” Spain will be far off its target of vaccinating 70% of the population by the end of summer and is unlikely to reach general immunity until 2023. Tags: show jumping, Spain, Sunshine Tour, Vejer de la Frontera, Covid, Email* Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! More from News:MARS Bromont CCI Announces Requirements For US-Based RidersThe first set of requirements to allow American athletes and support teams to enter Canada for the June 2-6 competition have been released.Canadian Eventer Jessica Phoenix Reaches the 100 CCI4*-S MarkPhoenix achieved the milestone while riding Pavarotti at the inaugural 2021 CCI4*-S at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.Tribunal Satisfied That Kocher Made Prolonged Use of Electric SpursAs well as horse abuse, the US rider is found to have brought the sport into disrepute and committed criminal acts under Swiss law.Washington International Horse Show Returns to TryonTIEC will again provide the venue for the WIHS Oct. 26-31 with a full schedule of hunter, jumper and equitation classes. SIGN UP Horse Sport Enews We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding.
Femi SolajaWhile millions of FC Barcelona fans worldwide are yet to come to terms with the team’s quarter final exit from the UEFA Champions League last Tuesday, Argentina’s football fans and media are delighted with the fate that befell the Catalan side.They reasoned that the painful exit of the former champions from the competition will enabled their recuperating super star and five-time Ballon Dor winner, Lionel Messi recovers fully and be ready to face Nigeria and other foes at the World Cup in Russia beginning June 12.Argentina is hoping Messi would be fresh enough to lead them to the World Cup glory.A prominent newspaper Ole wrote that ‘Fatigued, Messi didn’t show up for Barcelona and they suffered a historic elimination against Roma. He will reach Russia with less stress on his body but with the disappointment of missing the final rounds of the Champions League.’ “Perhaps the most important thing is that he can definitively recover from his hamstring problem, which doesn’t allow him to play normally,” he paper stated in its editorial.Another major media, Clarin, said that “national team needed Leo out of the Champions League. He was playing on the verge of a muscle injury and now we must prioritise his physical state over that of the soul.”For La Nacion: “It can do his body good to lighten the load in the face of the World Cup. But this slap doesn’t help the footballing prestige of Messi, or Barcelona. As many of their successes and disappointments are also his. Beyond saving energy, these defeats are unsettling.“(Jorge)Sampaoli won’t be worried as he believes Messi’s competitive genes will keep him out of harm’s way. Messi is obsessed with Russia and that voracity won’t be stopped by a surprise elimination,” the medium noted.With Barcelona’s Champions League elimination, Messi will now resort to managing his playing time for the club to ensure they get the needed seven more points to rap up Laliga glory and concentrate on the final match against Sevilla in the Copa Del Rey which comes up this Saturday in Madrid.It is expected that after next weekend final in the Spanish FA, the mercurial players will play less for the team and be focused to shine at the World Cup finals which probably might be his last.For now only three foes including Nigeria are confirmed to play the South American nation in the group stage of the tournament and Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr, is already hoping that Argentina wins its first two games and thus excuse Messi from the final group match against his team.“If Argentina wins its first two games, Messi may not want to play against us, that’s another possibility,” Rohr was quoted by www.fcbarcelonalive.com.With this calculation, the Super Eagles coach hopes that Argentina will tame Iceland in the opening match and win again against Croatia in the second game before facing Nigeria in the last group tie.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
The action gets underway at 4.45.