Friday 11 October - 16h00 | Press Release
Strong Chinese riders and a European Champion as the favourite
Bingliang Chen is the name of the first winner at the Longines Equestrian Beijing Masters. The show in the legendary “Bird’s Nest” of Beijing kicked off on Friday morning with the “Dashing Class”. Things got exciting in the afternoon when the international show jumpers mounted their borrowed horses for the first time.
The concept of the show is extraordinary: International top riders compete against China’s best show jumpers. This is namely one of the aims of this exceptional idea: Not to organise a show in China as a “travelling circus”, but instead to sustainably further develop the sport together with Chinese partners. Due to the quarantine regulations, the international riders are only able to compete on borrowed horses, the Chinese riders on the other hand saddle their own horses – this means the competitors more or less have equal chances.
Ludger Beerbaum, who is referred to in China as the “Father of the equestrian sport in Germany”, went on to say: “In the meantime, the Chinese have some really good horse and rider combinations and are much better aligned than a few years ago. A Chinese athlete could even claim the victory for the first time in the Longines Grand Prix on Sunday.” Last year’s winner, Henrik von Eckermann, (Sweden), who has been taking part at the Bird’s Nest for many years, shares his opinion: “The biggest change over the past years is the riding ability of the Chinese riders. They were pretty weak at the very beginning, but in the meantime they are really good.” Penelope Leprevost from France, who has also been on board from the start, agrees. Eight years ago the Chinese participants were “quite honestly a disaster,” the French show-jumper revealed. However: “The riders have improved greatly, the performance level has increased enormously.”
During the warm-up jumping competition on Friday, one was able to get an initial impression of the riding skills of the Chinese: With Jiri Galatu finishing third and Bin Zhang taking fifth place, two local riders succeeded in coming under the top 5. Jos Verloy (BEL) rode to victory ahead of the European Champion, Martin Fuchs from Switzerland. Particularly the latter felt quite at home in the saddle of his borrowed horse “Cognac du Vlist Z” – which is not surprising since the grey horse looks deceptively similar to his successful mount, “Clooney”. “He is super,” said Fuchs, who on the opening day thus also slightly slipped into the role of being the favourite to win the Longines Grand Prix on Sunday.
Of course the borrowed horses are the biggest hurdle for the international athletes, a “new horse, a new challenge,” underlined von Eckermann. However, the Swedish rider also added: “I am used to constantly riding new horses, so that’s fine.” He confirmed that the show itself has experienced a fantastic development: “A great deal has already happened over the past years, I always enjoy coming back here.”
Friday 11 October - 22h45
Sunday 13 October - 16h00