“This is like a dream!”
Organizers, participants, and just about everyone associated with the first-ever Global Champions Tour of Mexico City enjoyed a smashingly successful weekend of show jumping in the heart of Mexico City, April 14-17th.
The 15-stage Longines GCT added Mexico City as a brand new stage this year, and it was difficult to predict just how the competition would be received by the people of bustling Mexico City, an intense, high-altitude metropolis with a population of well over 8 million.
When crowds began showing up in droves for the Thursday warm up classes, it was an indicator that would carry over through the weekend. Amazing crowds of spectators lined the rail around the Campo Marte in Chapultepec Park, and filled the VIP areas, which tripled in size for what you’d normally see at a show jumping event (the venue was host to equestrian events during the 1968 Summer Olympics).
Spectators cheered on all the riders, but none more so than those at the international level who were representing the flag of Mexico. And while it wouldn’t be a Mexican grand prix winner, droves of fans mobbed French rider Roger Yves-Bost (as well as other top-placing riders) for autographs after his victory on Saturday in the €400,000 Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Mexico City.
There was no doubt, the crowd elevated the atmosphere of the entire show, leaving many of the riders pleasantly surprised by the unexpected support.
“We started working two years ago – thanks to the confidence and the trust of my friend Jan,” explained show organizer and CEO of Oxer Sport, Alvaro Arrieta Konyay. “The team of my company, of the Pasquel family, all of us we have done our best to get this amazing event here, and we have great pride in the excellent, excellent assistance of the public. Thank you to Mexico, to the Secretary of Tourism, as well as the Director of Longines. In Mexico they have supported this fantastic Grand Prix.”
LGCT Founder Jan Tops also expressed his appreciation for the assistance and support of the Mexican government, as well as to the Pasqual family.
“Not only was it perfect organisation and with great riders, the public here were unique – they are very warm, they know about the sport, and they really appreciate the riders and the performance,” he said. “This makes it a special place. Without these people we couldn’t have had a weekend like this, and the winner was the sport.”
Within the space of Chapultepec Park, horses had plenty of room to relax and hack out, and riding conditions on the grass field were top-quality throughout the weekend, and Sunday’s final competition, which again drew a full house, saw a step up in level to create a challenging track for the exciting second stage of the Global Champions League.
Mexico City more than made its debut one to remember, and there’s no doubt that the Longines Global Champions Tour crew is already looking forward to the second edition in 2017.