With CHI Geneva coming up this week, World of Showjumping took the chance to ask Sophie Mottu Morel, General Director of the CHI Geneva, a few questions about this year's edition.
1) What is the best reason to pay CHI Geneva a visit this year?
If you want to see great sport, the best riders and drivers in the world and feel emotion, do not miss the CHI Geneva (11th to 14th of December). Our show is the last Major of the year and we will host the 3rd Grand Prix of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping of the season on Sunday, December 14th at 2.15pm. This class will offer to the public a magnificent show. We are really happy to also host the 14th Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final this year, for the 10th time. The 10 best riders in the world will compete on Friday evening in this thrilling competition created in Geneva. Of course, we have the pleasure to organise a leg of the World Cup Driving in which Boyd Exell will try to win for the 7th time in Palexpo! And last but not least, we are really happy to welcome a new discipline this year, a 3rd discipline, with the first Indoor Cross Country presented by Rolex, in which many stars will take part as the current World champion Sandra Auffarth. At CHI Geneva every day has a highlight from Thursday with the Credit Suisse Grand Prix, a qualifier for the Rolex Grand Prix, till Sunday with the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
2) CHI Geneva is a very traditional show, which traditions are important for you to keep and in which ways do you still seek to be innovative?
If the CHI Geneva is at the level it is today, it is thanks to the people who have organized it since the beginning. We must not forget this. Each OC members made their contribution. In 1926, the first edition was organized by a passionate group of friends. Today, we work in the same way, we are colleagues but first of all we are friends, and we are passionate about our sport. That is the spirit of the CHI Geneva and I am really lucky to be surrounded by such people. With passion, we can do so many things and it is also thanks to this passion that we have created, with the CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows and the support of Rolex, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. This passion allowed us also to create in the past years new classes like the Top 10 Final, the Champion's Challenge and the Indoor Cross Country presented by Rolex this year. The soul of the CHI Geneva is also built by the 700 volunteers. They work each year day and night to make this show possible. They are also passionate.
3) Give us CHI Geneva in numbers?
40'000 spectators, the biggest arena of the world with 5'200m2, 88 riders, 8 drivers, 320 horses (jumping, driving, cross and attraction), 420 boxes, 20 TV Channel, 700 volunteers, 33 Organizing Committee members, 90 exhibitors, CHF 1'900'000 of prize money.
4) Who is your hottest candidate to win the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final as well as the Rolex Grand Prix?
It is difficult to give the name of the winner of the Rolex IRJC Top 10 Final, because the 10 riders are all favorites. They are the best in the world. It will also depend of the horses they are going to ride. We know that the French are really motivated for this final. They are three qualified and Michel Robert is the only French who has won the Top 10... Maybe a second this year? For the Grand Prix of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, I would say Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets. Steve has won 8 major competitions in Geneva, he is the favorite of the Swiss crowd. Nino is in a super shape since the beginning of the indoor season and he demonstrated last year how he likes and is comfortable in the arena of Palexpo. However the competition will be strong as many aspire to winning the title in the Rolex Grand Slam.
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