NEWS > Dressage
Posted by Toni Venhaus on 17/02/2020.
Mary Hanna riding Umbro at the 2015 Sydney CDI
Franz Venhaus

2020 Sydney CDI - last chance in Australia to be in contention for selection for Tokyo

Australia’s Premier Dressage Event the Sydney CDI 3* is the last opportunity in Australia for combinations looking to Qualify and be in contention for selection for the Dressage Team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  If previous Olympic qualifying years are anything to go by, this year’s Sydney CDI 2020 as an Olympic qualifying event will provide something even more special for riders and spectators than the unique competition atmosphere the event is known. 

Australia met the dressage qualifying criteria for the Tokyo Olympics in 2018 under the team provision, “The (1) best ranked team from Group G from the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games or if this quota is not filled at the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 the quota will be allocated at a 2019 Group G FEI Designated Olympic Qualification Event, excluding the teams qualified above.”  Of the Group G countries (consisting of those in Oceania & South East Asia), Australian’s 8th place at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina secured the team’s qualification.

For Australian riders to secure nomination in the Australian dressage team for the Tokyo Olympics they must meet the minimum eligibility requirements of two (2) Grand Prix scores of minimum 69%, awarded by both a 5* judge (other than an Australian judge) and as an average score from all judges in the competition, at two (2) different CDI3*/CDI4*/CDI5*/CDI-W/CDIO events, prior to 1 June, 2020.  

Australian team places are not only fought for by combinations on home soil.  Many of our senior Aussie expat combinations are performing well from European and US training bases and international combinations are likely to be in strong contention for the coveted Olympic starts.

Australia’s most successful and oldest Olympic equestrian representative Mary Hanna has a long history with the Sydney CDI first competing in 1994 on Mosaic II. 

Mary says, “Stepping into the arena at my first Olympics in Atlanta was one of the highlights of my Equestrian career.  It’s hard to express the magic of that moment, with 30,000 people in the stadium. My little horse Mosaic grew a hand and really rose to the occasion.  I have been entirely addicted to that Olympic dream ever since.” 

Mary, a five time Australian dressage team member in Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, London 2012 and Rio 2016, may also be in the mix for Tokyo 2020 selection and a likely starter for Sydney CDI with two horses, Syriana and Calanta.  Mary returned to AUS late last year having been based in Germany for a number of years. Her recent success in the CDI3* Grand Prix at the Boneo Classic in January 2020 with a scores on Syriana (70.717%) and Calanta scored (69.739%), showing she remains a force to be reckoned with in the sport and making this year’s Sydney CDI Grand Prix a must see.

The Sydney CDI will feature competitions spanning levels from Advanced to Grand Prix, attracting top riders from around Australia. Included in the line-up are CDI 3*, CDI-U25 (for riders under 25 competing at Grand Prix level), CDI-Y for Young Riders 16 to 21 years, CDI-P (International Pony) for riders aged 12-16 years and for only the second time after the success of 2019, a CDI-J for Junior riders aged between 14 and 18 years. The Sydney CDI Young Horse Championships will also be decided, with a special guest rider providing commentary on the finalists.

Tickets for the event have already gone on sale, and seats for the ever-popular Saturday evening Grand Prix Freestyle to Music event are selling out fast.  For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, visit the event website at:

By Tracey Mahony (Media Coordinator, Sydney CDI 2020)

Photo credit: Franz Venhaus

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