The home side’s elation at a British 1, 2, 3 when Pippa Funnell lifted the Mitsubishi Motors Trophy was just part of the enjoyment of a revamped Badminton in 2002. The event drew record crowds, after the year lost to Foot & Mouth Disease. The re-jigging of the course, using the traditional pathway, but starting in the main arena, will be repeated in 2003, though Event Director Hugh Thomas has been encouraged by the new balance of the track, to introduce more innovations which are currently taking shape.
The stature of the world’s premier Event is likely to be further enhanced by the recently announced change of the Olympic competition to one day event status. Badminton will continue to provide a major target for the world’s leading riders.
The introduction of the Badminton Club, with its site by the arena was a new idea which will continue in 2003. Members are able to relax ringside and see the action unfold on all four days of the competition.
The Box Office opened on 6th January, and as ever, attracted business immediately. The enhanced Online Booking Service from the Website is likely to prove popular as the best way of booking. (www.badminton-horse.co.uk ).
In an attempt to speed up entry into the park, a new ticketing policy has been introduced for day sales. Forward car parks will now only be available for advanced sales.
Due to popular demand, and a jump in radio earphone technology, Radio Badminton makes a comeback with a new team and should add another dimension to the enjoyment of all enthusiasts.
The prize pot for the riders stands at a record £164,000, with the winner taking home £37,500, going down to £1,000 for 20th spot.
Badminton as ever has a major charity which it supports, and this year it is the British Red Cross, which has provided medical services for riders and spectators alike throughout the event’s 54 year history.
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