14 November 2015
Best Athlete Award for Boyd ExellFour-in-hand driver Boyd Exell has written history again. The 43-year old Valkenswaard (NED)-based Australian has won the prestigious Reem Acra Best Athlete Award last night. The "Oscars of the equestrian world”, were presented at a Longines sponsored glittering gala dinner in the Puerto Rican capital city of San Juan. Exell is the first carriage driver ever who wins the prize in the seven-year-old history of this FEI election. Exell was also nominated in 2014, the Award was then won by show jumper Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED).
The title 'Best Athlete' is for athletes who have demonstrated exceptional equestrian skills and have taken the sport to a new level over the last 12 months. Exell was nominated together with vaulter Jaques Ferrari (FRA), eventer William Fox Pitt (GBR), eventer Ingrid Klimke (GER), dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and showjumper Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED).
Exell received the Award from Hollywood actress Bo Derek, Chair of the Jury for this year’s FEI Awards:
“I am thrilled to be here,” said Exell. “For driving to be recognized against Olympic disciplines is a tall order.
This is really not about me, it’s about carriage driving and for Australia, I just concentrate on what I do with the horses. The secret to my success is the team of people. I have a great team of sponsors and friends and drivers that have been on the journey with me to the top. They have been a big help. I love to train horses and it works well together.”
“The future of carriage driving is looking bright, FEI president Ingmar de Vos is doing a great job, as well as Chairman of the FEI Technical Committee Károly Fugli and FEI Director Driving Bettina de Rham. Look out other disciplines: Driving is coming!”