Top riders Ludger Beerbaum (GER) and Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) sang the praises of the ground-breaking LGCT Shanghai event where they compete on international horses for the first time n mainland China.
At a packed press conference, with almost 100 photographers, camera crews and journalists, the stars of show jumping said they were “very impressed” with the debut Longines Global Champions Tour event in Shanghai. The dynamic Chinese city joins a prestigious list of great city destinations on the Tour circuit in Europe and the Middle East including Paris, London, Chantilly, Monaco and Doha.
Journalists crowded round the champion show jumpers eager to quiz them about the arrival of the Tour in China. Edwina, who is riding Erenice Horta and Old Chap Tame, said: “As a rider I am really impressed by the organisation here. We all know how much work goes into these shows and we are very happy with things here. For a first time event it is very impressive.”
Famous international horses like Christian Ahlmann’s Aragon, Ludger Beebaum’s Zinedine, Kamal Bahamdan’s Olympic medal-winning Noblesse des Tess, Marco Kutscher’s Cornet’s Cristallo and Michael Whitaker’s Amai are all competing on the opening day of the event.
Speaking at the Press Conference at the smart showground in the Pudong District of Shanghai, next to the spectacular China Art Palace, Ludger Beerbaum spoke about the growth of show jumping in China and the talented local riders aiming for CSI5* level: “I think the Chinese riders are in a really good way, it is just a matter of time when they will be able to compete at this level. I am sure in three or four years’ time, we will have a lot of Chinese riders competing.”
Chinese rider John Han, who is competing this weekend in Shanghai, was praised by Ludger as one of the top Chinese riders. Speaking at the press conference John said: “I just want to perform well. You can never predict the result but I will give full effort to my performance.”
Jan Tops, President of the Tour, explained the three-year project with the Chinese authorities and the European Commission to enable international competition horses to be flown to China and compete on the mainland.
“This was not even possible for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, so the horses had to compete in Hong Kong. But we worked hard with the authorities and we had incredible support and we are proud to be here. Today we open a new chapter in the history of our sport. A truly historic milestone for equestrian sport in China.”
Juan-Carlos Capelli, Longines Vice President and Head of International Marketing, said: “We would like to thank the Chinese authorities and our partner Longines Global Champions Tour and we wish all the riders the best of luck for Shanghai! Gathering the best riders to compete in some of the world’s greatest cities; this is the essence of the Longines Global Champions Tour.”
Source: Global Champions Tour