All eyes on Barcelona for the 2016 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final
After the excitement of Rio de Janeiro last month, many of the world’s top showjumpers will be in Barcelona, Spain, this weekend for the 2016 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final.
The Final will once again take place at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona from 22 to 25 September with the prestigious venue, which was the Jumping venue for the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, celebrating its 105th anniversary fixture this year.
A total of 46 countries took part in 19 qualifiers staged across the globe during this 107th season, and they have been reduced to just 18 nations who will be represented when competition gets underway on Thursday.
It promises to be an exciting and intriguing few days of action with Olympic medallists France going into the competition as slight favourites after their team gold in Rio.
They will be joined by seven other teams from the European Division 1 qualifying series, including the League winners The Netherlands, plus Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Germany and Sweden, the latter bolstered by the presence of newly-crowned Olympic silver medallist Peder Fredricson.
Reigning champions Belgium may have struggled this term by finishing second-last on the Division 1 League table, but whilst they will be hoping for better fortunes their team has the experience which is equally vital in Nations Cup Jumping to challenge for honours.
As will Great Britain who will be boosted by the performance of Nick Skelton and Big Star who claimed their nation’s very first individual Olympic gold medal on the final afternoon of the Games. With Scott Brash back in form after his recent victory in Spruce Meadows, Canada, and the experienced trio of the Whitaker brothers Michael and John and Tim Stockdale, Great Britain could be one to watch out for.
Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum announced at the end of the Olympics Games that he will retire from national team duties after this year’s Furusiyya Final, and the Real Club de Polo could not be a more a fitting place for him to do so. It was here in 1992 that he clinched the individual Olympic title, from which point he has become one of the most influential figures in the sport over the intervening years.
Beerbaum will be alongside Daniel Deusser and Christian Ahlmann – who joined him in securing team bronze in Rio, plus the in-form duo of Marcus Ehning and Janne Friederike Meyer – who were winner and runner-up respectively in last weekend’s Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Vienna, so perhaps there could be one last fairytale on the cards.
Europe Division 2 will be represented by the host nation Spain and Austria who have impressed all season, while Qatar will represent the Middle East. Olympic hosts Brazil will also be in Barcelona, along with Colombia, who produced some strong results during the season, Mexico, Olympic silver medalists USA, Eygpt and Australia for what looks set to be a thrilling conclusion to the 2016 series.
The action begins on Thursday with the first qualifier, from which the top eight teams will go through to Saturday night’s finale. The remaining 10 countries eliminated from that first qualifier will battle it out in the Longines Challenge Cup on Friday night.