Aachen again at last, applause again at last

An interview with the Show Director, Frank Kemperman

The world show jumping elite is participating at the Aachen International Jumping. In addition to the top international stars, 25 of the best young riders (aged up to 21 years) also competed in the Deutsche Bank Stadium, where the dressage riders are at home during the legendary CHIO Aachen. Before the concluding class, the Allianz Prize, we spoke with the Show Director, Frank Kemperman.

Question: How satisfied are the organisers?

Frank Kemperman: Very – we were sold out on all days of the show (laughs)! We are, of course, first of all super pleased to have horses competing here again. The best riders in the world came to Aachen, that is excellent in itself. And we are hearing applause again at last – only 300 spectators are allowed, that doesn’t sound like many, but those people who are here are making sure the atmosphere is fantastic. The show is also an experience for our many volunteers – they are delighted to be here again, that they can see the horses and the riders. And the riders are happy too and keep telling us how glad they are to be here in Aachen. And very important too: The CHIO Aachen partners are lending us wonderful support, a huge thanks to our sponsors for their great commitment in helping us put this show together.


Question: Normally, the best dressage riders in the world can be experienced here, now we have had three days of top show jumping. Did the Deutsche Bank Stadium prove to be a good venue?

Kemperman: Definitely. We inaugurated the Deutsche Bank Stadium in 1999, 50 metres wide and 90 metres long it is also ideal for show jumping. The footing is perfect, the riders are impressed too. Of course, we have the Holy Grass in the Main Stadium, which is what turns Aachen into a myth, but I think it was the right choice for the Aachen International Jumping.


Question: Especially since one frequently heard the people say “Aachen again at last”…

Kemperman: Yes, it’s not just a place on the map, it is characterised by many different things. Of course, the organisation has to be good, the procedures have to be well-planned and the footing has to be excellent, but the small details are important too: One is greeted warmly, one has known many of the stewards for years, there is help for the riders with unloading the horse, that sort of thing. Both the visitors and the athletes – they all seem to feel at home here and that delights us the organisers.


Question: The aspiring young show-jumpers are also content …

Kemperman: We have extended our commitment for the youth over the years step by step. As it became clear that we were organising the “Aachen International Jumping”, it was also evident straight away that we would organise a competition for the Young Riders, namely the NetAachen Prize. When I look at the young people here and see their eyes sparkling, then I know we are absolutely on the right track.


Question: The organisers were faced with totally different challenges than at the CHIO Aachen.

Kemperman: The most difficult aspect about the whole event was for us the hygiene concept. We know how to organise an event – we are good at that, we have plenty of know-how and very experienced employees, but drawing up a hygiene concept that was new territory for us. We held lengthy and intensive discussions with the authorities and experts, and ultimately everything worked very well. And everyone is accepting it, is wearing a mask, disinfecting their hands and keeping their distance. We have learnt a great deal.


Question: After a successful Aachen International Jumping you are no doubt looking optimistically ahead?

Kemperman: Exactly, it is just 292 days to go before the CHIO Aachen 2021 opens its door. The ticket sales have incidentally already started.


Frank Kemperman in the Deutsche Bank Stadium. Photo: Aachen International Jumping

Frank Kemperman in the Deutsche Bank Stadium. Photo: Aachen International Jumping