Equestrian champions are taking on athletes across all sports in the Year of the Horse in bids to claim top national sports awards in the Netherlands, Great Britain and Ireland.
The Netherlands’ traditional Sport Gala 2014 announced its nominees on Sunday night, with equestrian heroes featuring in four of the six categories. Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin has already claimed one award and is nominated for two others, while Ireland’s teenage sensation Bertram Allen has been nominated for the Irish Independent Young Sports Star of the Year award.
Jeroen Dubbeldam, double gold medallist at the Alltech World Equestrian Games™ 2014 and the Netherlands’ first ever Jumping world title holder, has been nominated for the Best Male Athlete award. The Sydney 2000 Olympic Jumping champion will battle it out against football legend Arjen Robben, world champion in gymnastics Epke Zonderland and four Olympic Winter Games gold medallists in speed skating.
Dubbeldam and his team-mates have also been nominated in the Best Team category. The orange quartet of Dubbeldam, Jur Vrieling, Maikel van der Vleuten and Gerco Schröder claimed gold in Normandy and booked a slot at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and then went on to score a sensational victory at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona (ESP) just over five weeks later.
Chef d’equipe Rob Ehrens, responsible for so many “orange-gold” medals, has also been recognised and is nominated in the Best Coach category. The former rider has steered the Dutch Jumping to multiple successes, and also helped the Eventing team secure its qualification for Rio 2016.
Another equestrian hero has been nominated for these famous awards, with Para-Equestrian Dressage athlete Rixt van der Horst, double world champion, featuring in the Best Paralympic Athlete category along with three other nominees. She collected two individual gold medals and a silver team medal in Normandy on her international debut.
Winners in each of the six categories will be selected by a jury of former Olympic athletes, coaches and sports journalists. The Sport Gala 2014 ceremony takes place at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Center on 16 December.
Dubbeldam has another nomination, as the emotional moment when his daughter Nina jumped into his arms crying after seeing her father crowned World Champion is one of 10 selected for the Sport in Beeld award. This television award for the best sporting pictures of the year is chosen by public vote and will be presented at the Sport Gala 2014.
Anky van Grunsven won the Best Female Athlete in 1994 and took the Fanny Blankers Koen all-time achievement award in 2012. The Dutch Jumping team was previously nominated for the Best Team award in 2006.

Source:  FEI