Hours before the start of the Shanghai Longines Global Champions Tour, the event was hailed as a “significant” and “great” event for equestrianism in China. Daniel Deusser, Scott Brash, Ludger Beerbaum and Kent Farrington are all competing at the show ground next to the iconic China Art Pavilion. Chinese spectators will be able to experience the highest level of show jumping on international horses, all possible after a landmark agreement establishing a temporary quarantine zone.
Government figures said the ground-breaking debut last year and this year’s second appearance in Shanghai are driving the development of the equestrian industry in China and related trade with the EU.
Sun Wei Min, Deputy Director of Shanghai Administration of Sports, spoke of the economic and cultural impact of the event in the City and said: “In 2014 we held the inaugural Longines Global Champions tour successfully in Shanghai, which has greatly promoted the equestrian culture in Shanghai and the City’s image in the world.
“This great event with significant social effects and economic benefits will serve as a language for cultural exchanges between Shanghai and other international cities.
“This year marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Europe. Modern equestrian sport originated from Europe and also has a long history in China. I believe that this event will not only promote cultural exchanges between China and Europe.”
Current Tour ranking leader and World No2 Scott Brash said: “This is my first time in Shanghai. I have competed in other LGCT events so I know this was going to be very well organised and run and I am delighted to be here competing. Everyone is in for a good entertaining few days of jumping and hopefully we can show you how great our sport is.”
Jan Tops, President of Longines Global Champions Tour, thanked dignitaries from Shanghai and said: “We are delighted to be back in China for the second Longines Global Champions Tour event in this great city of Shanghai. There are improvements this year and we have a good co-operation with Juss Events and I think in the future it will be one of the best shows in the world.”
Dennis Li, Vice President of Longines China, said: “Equestrian sport is so popular in China, it is like golf was 20 years ago, suddenly booming. The GCT is already No1 and gives the best example of how to solve the quarantine problem.”
Chinese media asked about national riders taking part in future editions of the Shanghai Longines Global Champions Tour and Mr Tops said: “I think in the future we can get the borders more open and have 2* and 3* riders from China involved and that would be great for China.”
Tian Hua, of the National Administration of Cycling, Fencing and Equestrian Sport, said: “LGCT is definitely the world’s highest level of sport and also with the greatest influence in the world. It is a great chance for the Chinese fans to appreciate this sport.”
More training programmes are being introduced to nurture young Chinese riding talent for the future and some riders are travelling to Europe to improve their skills.