The fifth season of the 2015 Longines FEI World Cup China League is underway and even though the series is in its infancy it continues to make big steps towards top sport standards. The first five years has laid a solid foundation, not only for the World Cup League but for the sport in China. Collaboration between the Chinese firm CNSI and the German firm EN GARDE Marketing GmbH has lead to the growth of support for show jumping in China as well as attendance of top riders from around the world.
The second leg of the 2015 Longines FEI World Cup China League set a different scene for the riders with only three clear rounds in the World Cup Grand Prix qualification, from Zhang Ke, (CHN) Han John Zhuangzhuang (CHN) and Li Zhenqiang (CHN). Han John Zhuangzhuang who finished 4th last week in the World Cup Grand Prix, was in good form – early on in the start list Han John produced a slow clear round which didn’t follow up with a second clear until 17 riders later when Zhang Ke slipped into the lead. The third clear would also come from China with Li Zhenqiang who finished third, securing all three riders a late draw for the second leg World Cup Grand Prix.
The course set by international course designer Paul Weier, offered a big, technical and long course, causing many issues for the competitors, with only four from a field of 27 reaching the jump off. Winners of last weeks Grand Prix Patrick Lam (HKG) and Raena Leung (HKG) produced the first two clear rounds and for much of the class it did not look as though more would come. Two time Olympic medalist Lars Nieberg would be the next to join the pair with his borrowed ride Wavanta. Shortly before the end of the first round three time Olympic competitor Jerry Smit would be the fourth and last to join the jump-off.
The top two spots in the Chinese league would only be decided between Hong Kong, who after the first stage were already leading the league. Leung was first to go in the jump-off and had an unlucky rail, which left Patrick Lam with the task of only jumping clear. Nieberg gave a strong performance, watched closely by the German Ambassador to Beijing Mr. Michel Klauß and his family. Hoping to take a big piece of the pot home, Nieberg came up short, same as Jerry Smit who had a clear but did not quite manage the time. Top riders Uli Kirchhoff 96 Olympic Champion and Denis Lynch, multiple Grand Prix winner and current world number 25 also competed having 1 rail each finishing 8th and 5th respectively.
Lam took his second Longines watch home and 40 points, 6 points ahead of Leung with 34 and 12 points ahead of Han John with 28. The best two results for the final so Lam has set himself up with a strong lead for winning that all important ticket to the World Cup Finals in Göteborg.
Riders had the pleasure of being congratulated by Longines President Walter von Känel who made his first appearance at the China League, the Partnership established in 2013 with the strong recommendation and direction lead by EN GARDE Marketing Boss Volker Wulff has been a positive force on the sport in China.
October 3rd to 7th will see the battle for 5th China League Final with all sides looking to improve every aspect of the event. After the first 5 years of a successful partnership between CNSI and EN GARDE Marketing with significant developments in the sport in China, both parties are looking to long term further cooperation. The second stage will take place on the 1st – 3rd of May seeing the Chinese riders fight it out for the top spot before the final of the Chinese League in October and the all important ticket to Longines FEI World Cup Jumping – Final in Gothenburg next April!
Source: EN GARDE/Equnews