The first tournament in Lífland’s Youth Champions League will be held on Sunday, 7 February, at 12 noon UTC. A limited number of spectators will be permitted to enter the TM arena in Reykjavík where the competition takes place but it will also be broadcast by live streaming on Alendis TV (with narrations in Icelandic only).
“We actually start in January with all kinds of educational and practical presentations,” says Hilda Karen Garðarsdóttir, a board member of Lífland’s Youth Champions League. It is now being held for the fifth time. “This year we had a presentation about how to succeed in sports and in life to mentally prepare the contestants.”
There are 11 teams in the league with four 13-18-year-old riders on each team. The competition kicks off with V1 fourgait in the first tournament on 7 February. The following tournaments will take place every other Sunday until 11 April. The other disciplines are F1 fivegait, gæðinga dressage, T1 tölt, T2 loose rein tölt and PP1 pace test.
“In other competitions, teenagers and young adults of this age rarely compete solo. This demands more of them as athletes,” explains Hilda, elaborating: “It is more common to have three riders together inside the arena at the same time which is a simpler form of competition. It is controlled by a narrator and the riders don’t have to arrange their own shows or make sure that the gaits are changed in the right places. Now the riders get the chance to arrange their own show, which is kind of an adult thing to do.”
Hilda says that before Lífland’s Youth Champions League was established in 2017, very few tournaments were held with this arrangement for teenagers and young adults. Therefore, young riders often had little experience with arranging their own shows when they travelled abroad for international competitions.
Young riders are very excited about competing in Lífland’s Youth Champions League. “It is a new opportunity for them. Many of them wait impatiently for turning 13 so that they can compete under this arrangement. We on the board witness great progress. We follow the young riders throughout the season and observe how they grow in capability and competence.”
For the first time this year, it will be possible to watch Lífland’s Youth Champions League at home through streaming by Alendis TV. “It is also valuable for the kids to be able to use the footage for watching their own shows and review them with their coaches and teammates,” Hilda points out. “And it’s fun for spectators in Iceland and abroad to see what teens are doing in equestrian sports in Iceland.”
Go to alendis.tv if you’d like to buy access to the streaming.
Text: Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir. Photos: Ólafur Ingi Ólafsson.