On Monday 28th of March a new World Cup Champion will be crowned as the 2016 Longines FEI World Cup Final is staged in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The Austrian legend Hugo Simon was the first man to claim the title 37 years ago, and it actually happened in Gothenburg – host to the 2016 final.
This will be the 14th time the FEI World Cup Final takes place in Gothenburg, where the inaugural final was staged in 1979.
Since 1979, the FEI World Cup has expanded to 15 leagues world-wide stretching across Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South East and Central Asia and China, and on to North and South America, South Africa, the Middle East, Caucasia and Central and Western Europe. In all a total of 108 qualifying events have taken place this season.
38 athletes from 18 nations will compete in this year’s World Cup Final presented by Longines. The countries that will be represented are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.
Some of the biggest and most memorable partnerships in the sport has won the World Cup title: Ian Millar and Big Ben from Canada, Britain’s John Whitaker and Milton, Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa and Baloubet du Rouet and Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Shutterfly are just a few of the legends whose names are linked to the prestigious title.
Four riders have claimed the FEI World Cup-title on three occasions:
Austria's Hugo Simon, winner of the inaugural final in Gothenburg with Gladstone, went on to record a back-to-back double of victories with ET FRH in 1996 and 1997.
Germany's Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum was also a three-time winner with Shutterfly: In Las Vegas in 2005, Gothenburg in 2008 and again in Las Vegas in 2009.
Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa and the stallion Baloubet du Rouet hold the record as the only horse-and-rider partnership to post three back-to-back wins. They came out on top in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Germany's Marcus Ehning won in Las Vegas in 2003, in Kuala Lumpur in 2006 and in Geneva in 2010 – and this year Ehning gets the chance to become historical again if he wins and becomes the first four-time World Cup Champion.
Defending champion is the London 2012 individual Olympic gold medalist Steve Guerdat who won the 2015 Final in Las Vegas last April after being vice-champion twice – in 2012 and 2013.
While the above mentioned riders can be considered like veterans by their merits, some young riders will also battle it out in Gothenburg. The youngest rider at this year's final is 20-year-old Jos Verlooy from Belgium, while USA’s Katie Dinan is another young gun at the age of 22.
The oldest horse is the 20-year-old Irish-bred stallion Flexible, ridden by Rich Fellers. The pair claimed the title for the USA at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2012.
The final is ridden over competitions held Friday 25th, Saturday 26th and Monday 28th. The first part of the final, will be a table C class ridden over a course set at a maximum of 1.60 meters. On Saturday, the riders will compete in a table A class set at 1.50-1.60 meters against the clock, ridden as a Grand Prix class with a jump-off. Riders who are eliminated or who retire in the first competition are not permitted to take part.
In the first two competitions points are given to all riders having finished the initial round. The winner of each competition gets one point more than the number of starters in the first final competition. The second placed gets two points less than the winner, the third placed three points less than the winner, and so on.
Athletes who have been eliminated or have retired in the initial round of the first two competitions do not get points. Points won by athletes who are tied are added up and divided equally. Fractions of 0.5 and more are rounded up; fractions of less than 0.5 are rounded down.
After the second competition points are transformed into penalties. The rider with the highest number of points after two competitions will have 0 penalties. For all other riders the number of penalties will be calculated by multiplying with the coefficient of 0.50 the difference between their number of points and the points of the leading rider after two competitions.
The third and final competition takes place on Monday. It will be a table A class with two rounds over a Grand Prix course at 1.50-1.60 meters. The 30 best placed riders (plus ties) from the provisional classification following the second competition are allowed to compete in the first round of the third competition.
Eligible for the second round of the third competition are the 20 best placed riders (plus ties) from the provisional classification following the first round. Riders with a clear score in the first round are allowed to start in the second round, even if their total score does not bring them into the top 20 riders (plus ties). However, they will compete only for the classification and prize money of the competition itself, and their score in the second round will not be taken into consideration when calculating their position in the final overall ranking of the final.
The winner of the Longines FEI World Cup Final 2016 is the rider that after all rounds has the least amount of penalties. If two or more riders should have the same amount of penalties, there will be a jump-off for the victory.
Source: fei.org // Picture © Jenny Abrahamsson
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