Lift-off for the CSI4*-W Longines FEI World Cup Leon in Mexico

Eugenio Garza Perez, one of the top-ranked Mexicans in the World Cup standings
Credit : Scoopdyga

Thursday 07 February - 14h56 | Ian Clayton

Lift-off for the CSI4*-W Longines FEI World Cup Leon in Mexico

León, Mexico is known in part for its international hot air balloon festival (see video below). But this weekend, the city in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato will be witnessing altitude of a different kind as the $100,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Leon wraps up the qualifying season in Western North America. 

 - Lift-off for the CSI4*-W Longines FEI World Cup Leon in Mexico

Festival Internacional del Globo in Léon
Credit : Tomascastelazo – Wikimedia Commons

Held at the city’s equestrian club and following the recent qualifier in Guadalajara, 2019 marks the first time the city has hosted such an event, as riders target a spot in this year's World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, in April. 

Mexico’s Anderson de Moura Lima is the course designer this week, and around $186,000 in prize money is also reportedly on offer throughout the event. The World Cup qualifier is scheduled for Saturday, February 9 and will be broadcast live on FEI TV. The class counts for both Longines Rankings points and toward a potential qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as well. 

Three Americans are guaranteed a place in the World Cup Final in Sweden out of the Western sub-league, but even though the standings are tight, most of the athletes in León this week are Mexican. With the Live Oak International in Ocala, Florida offering one more opportunity in March to qualify for the Gothenburg competition, riders and their coaches must take into account the logistics of travelling to the Mexican competition (and whether they really plan to go all the way to Gothenburg even if they do qualify), one Grand Prix editor obserbved. Mexican riders are guaranteed two places in the Final.

In any case, as one of the competition’s organizers put it recently, “A goal of the whole equestrian community in Mexico is to bring up the level of show jumping in the country.” And given some of León’s other cultural events and activities, that appears to be an appropriate objective for a sport on the rise in the region. >>> Video below by FIG. >>>

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