To the Organizers of the Open European Championship 2012
First of all, we would like to thank you for hosting the Open European Championship and for taking on all the work that is involved with organizing such a huge event. The Danish Team had a fabulous time in Prague.
Unfortunately, there were a few things that caused disappointment to a number of participants and in order to avoid it happening again at future OECs, we feel that we have to bring certain points to your attention.
Many of the competitors seated behind the judges noticed that the Head Judge, from the Czech Republic, made use of her mobile phone covertly under the table – presumably for texting. This was seen to be happening between performances when the other two judges were scoring the routines and she was also seen to text during an actual performance. It happened continuously over the weekend and the competitors feel it is not acceptable behaviour for a judge. If for some reason a judge is not able to fulfill her judge’s appointment and pay 100% attention to the routines, she should have stood down and another judge could then have been assigned. The Danish team and other teams, find it totally unacceptable and offensive that one of the judges felt that her mobile phone and texts were more important than the routines that the competitors had all put a lot of work into and travelled far to present to her.
For future OECs we also hope that there will be a supervisor at the ring during practice time and in between. A dog and handler team from Switzerland had almost an hour’s practice time alone in the ring on the Saturday in very competition like circumstances. The hall was full of people and music was playing. Other handlers were asked to leave the ring if they trained outside the allocated training times, but no one reacted to this handler. No one seemed to know her and most assumed it was the ‘white dog’ that was practicing before her white dog performance on Sunday morning.
It is very important that all dog and handler teams have the same training time in the hall as extra training time gives a huge advantage in the competition. One of the best Danish Freestyle dogs (Freestyle Dog of the Year in Denmark) had major problems with slipping on the surface of the carpet. He had only the allocated 2½ minutes in the ring (20 mins divided in 8) prior to his performance, however, if he had had an hour in the ring like the Swiss competitor, he would have soon learnt to adjust his feet and movement to the surface and most likely have given a much better performance. The hall was empty when competitors and their dogs were in the ring for the practice times, and it became evident that many dogs were surprised and stunned by the spectators as they walked into the busy hall for the first time since practice time to compete. These dogs would also have performed better if they had been allowed practice time in the ring during the day, when there was an audience and music playing.
Finally, we are deeply disappointed that there were no trophies for the Silver and Bronze winners in the Team Championship. The OEC is as much a Team Championship as it is an Individual Championship. Winning the team competitions is just as amazing and fantastic as winning an individual title and probably more so since you are a team selected and representing your own country. We do hope that future host countries will put as much importance on the team competitions as they do on the individual competitions.
We are sorry we have had to bring the above complaints to your attention but we look forward to seeing you all in 2013.
Emmy Marie Simonsen