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First riders qualified for 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Final

Wednesday, 24 January 2018
Longines FEI World Cup Final 2018

In less than three months, one of the major events of the French international sports season will be taking place in the new AccorHotels Arena in Paris: the FEI Jumping and Dressage World Cup Finals.

It will be the third time in history that France will be playing host to these competitions since they were created in 1979 and 1985. The world elite in these two disciplines will be in Paris from 11th to 15th of April, after a long and tough qualifying circuit. 

Many riders believe that the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping is the greatest and most sporting individual circuit in the international calendar. Those present at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris will definitely represent the sporting elite. The World Cup is a universal competition, bringing together the best riders on the planet, who will previously have been qualified on their continents, through fourteen regional leagues, each comprising several legs. The Western European league is recognised as being the hardest.

France’s Kevin Staut, the Olympic team medallist, (first in the provisional rankings with 65 points), will definitely be present in Paris. “I love this circuit: for me, this is what real sport is; we can surpass ourselves in these types of situations. I was seventh in my first Final, then sixth, then fifth, then third, but I haven’t progressed since then. However, each time I am qualified for the Final, I still go back there with the same motivation. There are many of us (French riders) who are trying to qualify; it’s really important to have this Final in Paris.”

But the French rider will have to contend with some major competition in Western Europe: the rider who is just behind him in the provisional rankings is none other than the European team silver medallist, Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann; among riders already qualified in Europe, there are Germany’s Daniel Deusser (winner of the Final in Lyon, in 2014) and Christian Ahlmann (Leipzig in 2011), and the 2012 Olympic individual gold medallist, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (Las Vegas in 2015 and Gothenburg in 2016); the three-time winner of the FEI World Cup Final in 2003, 2006 and 2010, the living legend of showjumping, who is also a former number one, Germany’s Marcus Ehning, is almost virtually guaranteed to be qualified for the Parisian Final with 39 points and a tenth place in the provisional ranking. 

Christian Ahlmann, Daniel Deusser and Steve Guerdat will come face to face at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris with their 2017 successor in Omaha (United States), America’s McLain Ward, who is obviously in fine form: he is in second place in the US East Coast rankings (in any case he is automatically qualified, as he is the current titleholder). A league and qualified riders who will reveal new faces, since it is dominated by new young talents such as Alison Robitaille and Quebec’s Isabelle Lapierre, whereas the leading names in American showjumping such as world no.1 Kent Farrington and the Olympic team gold medallist Beezie Madden, are still not qualified. There are still two qualifying legs to come: the outcome will be revealed on 26th March.

On the West Coast, where there are also two legs still to be held, the rider who was the best French representative in Omaha last year, Eric Navet, may still be able to qualify. The return of the Norman rider from California to Paris would be an event in itself. But the 1990 World champion and the legend of French showjumping is still missing about twelve points to be reunited with his public at the Final in April... However, it is still within his reach. This league is dominated by the everlasting Richard Spooner.

The definitive list of finalists will be revealed after the last qualifying legs of the different leagues.


Source: Press release from Blizko Communication

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