Saturday, 8 May 2010

Grassroots Championship should stay for Badminton 2011

So over the last few days I've been surfing around the web looking at the reviews and opinion from Badminton and noticed some chat (and a H&H article) about how some riders from the main event were complaining about the Grassroots Championship disrupting the main Badminton event.

A little surprisingly perhaps, 'The Captain' (Mark Phillips) seemed to disagree and thought it all rather jolly, although he admitted not going over to watch.

I have to say I thought this was an excellent decision to include this in the Badminton schedule and perhaps one of the only ways in which the top end of the sport really gives back to the grassroots that feeds it.

Now it's all too easy for all of us on the sidelines to sit in judgement on what should have been done or isn't being done, but give Badminton its due, they did run the grassroots cross country through the main deer park and even through the lake, albeit a toe in the water.

Given this, I was a little surprised that Showjumping and Dressage was run outside the main show ground next to the airfield! It would have been great to see these two phases run on the main showground, though perhaps not in the main area. In front of the House perhaps, as the first Badminton's were, and I think a trot-up would be a welcome addition too.

Unlike Mark Phillips, I did manage to make it over to the Grassroots 'camp' and whilst it did look like any other one day event, there really was an excitable buzz around the stables, secretaries tent, and warm up areas. I just thought it was a bit of shame this area hadn't been given the "Badminton treatment", in fact you'd probably see a better presentation of a one day at, say, Highclere.

What many of these 4* riders fast forget is a lot of the money that goes into providing the infrastructure that gives them a living and chance to compete in the upper levels comes from a large audience of Grassroots riders, so they really should be more welcoming and accommodating. What's not surprising perhaps is the people who complained! Karma's a wonderful thing, sometimes in the form of a lake!

Well done Badminton for supporting the Grassroots, and I suppose I shouldn't grumble as it's perfectly acceptable that they would need to test the water a little with integrating such an event in the main Badminton Extravaganza!

As for the whingers, need I say more....

1 comment:

  1. .....probably not, but here's a little more since Tina Cook has piped up in her H&H Column.

    Gatecombe as a venue for Grassroots? I don't agree. The ground is far too undulated and would be an unfair test on this level of competition. Also the chance to compete at Badminton is what keeps the competition alive.

    I believe the criteria for entry should be increased further, I remember having a conversation with the powers that be last summer to ensure that those who competed 'professionally' were excluded from the championship and the rules were tightened, but clearly they need to be tightened a little further if a 4* rider can jump in.

    On this point I think we also need to look at how amateurs can qualify. If you are unfortunate enough to always compete against the top riders at BE100 level, you're always going to be at a disadvantage in getting a qualifying run. Perhaps we need to have at least one section in BE100 events where 2-4 star riders are excluded or must compete HC.

    Now, thinking about this a little more, I can see a need to improve how the two competitions interact, but in response to the whingers...the dates for the competition have been known for many months and heavily publicised, so why haven't any of you raised your concerned before.

    Knowing the Badminton layout reasonably well, I would have run much of the Grassroots event through Vicarage fields and the other side of Luckington Lane. This would give you the opportunity to use either the Pond or run up to the Lake, worcester avenue and back, with opportunity to use some new ground along the way. This would keep Cross Country well away from the main event but still provide an ample Badminton feeling for the grassroots.

    Anyway I'm sure there'll be more on this over time and I do feel a little sorry for Hugh Thomas who set out with the best intentions and has come under fire unfairly.