The Italian team will be pathfinders as the much-anticipated FEI Nations Cup™ Promotional League Final gets underway at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain tomorrow afternoon. A total of seven nations will battle it out for the last remaining qualifying spot in the 2012 FEI Nations Cup™ series, and the order-of-go for tomorrow's competition is as follows:
1, Italy; 2, Ukraine; 3, Russia; 4, Canada; 5, Sweden; 6, Spain; 7, Poland.
It is expected to be a hard-fought affair, and three of the teams may comprise only three riders instead of the full complement of four, allowing them no drop-score as a result. At today's press conference, Canadian Chef d'Equipe, Mark Laskin, announced that his side may be only three-strong, while both Poland's Rudiger Wassibauer and Russian team manager Aleksander Varnavskiy, both confirmed that their sides will be one rider short.
FEI Jumping Director, John Roche, congratulated the OrganIsing Committee on the significant improvements made to the showgrounds for the 2011 fixture, during which CSIO Barcelona celebrates its centenary. The Real Club de Polo was the Jumping venue during the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and has a long and strong connection with equestrian sport.
Looking forward to tomorrow's clash, John Roche said "the home team is very motivated going into the Final, and of course the Swedish team has been boosted by the fabulous result produced by Rolf-Goran Bengtsson who won the Individual title at the FEI European Jumping Championships in Madrid last Sunday. We have competitors of the highest calibre here this weekend including the No. 1 rider on the Rolex World Rankings and reigning Olympic gold medallist Eric Lamaze representing Canada, so we can look forward to a great day's sport" he added.
The lack of strength in depth in the three-man sides may play into the hands of the Spanish and Swedes who both look strong, but the teams from The Ukraine and Italy are also likely to come out with all guns blazing so it is very much still all to play for in the battle for that last place in the 2012 FEI Nations Cup™ series line-up.
Already qualified are the countries that filled the top six places on the Top League 2011 leaderboard - Great Britain, The Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, France and the series champions from Germany. Two teams - Denmark and the USA - were relegated following the last leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ in Rotterdam, The Netherlands last month and they will be replaced by Switzerland, winners of the FEI Promotional League series 2011, and the winning side in tomorrow's competition.
The weather in Barcelona is pleasant, partly cloudy with some light rain early in the morning and temperatures ranging around 24 degrees. A parade of teams will take place tomorrow afternoon at 3pm local time, and then the action, over the course designed by Spain's Javier Trenor, will begin 30 minutes later.
You can watch it all LIVE on FEI TV - www.feitv.org
For further details on the FEI Nations Cup Promotional League Final 2011 in Barcelona, Spain check out website www.csiobarcelona.com or contact Press Officer, Isabel Suter, Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel + 34 93 449 49 71.
FEI TV SCHEDULE (Sunday 25 September 2011): Starts 13.25 GMT (15.25 CEST) End 17.00 GMT (19.00 CEST)
To learn more about the FEI Promotional League go to http://goo.gl/NUUxv
THE 2011 FEI PROMOTIONAL LEAGUE consists of three separate series - the European Promotional League, the Challengers League and the North and South America League - from which countries can qualify for the Top League FEI Nations Cup™. A total of three teams from the European and Challengers Leagues, and one from the North and South America series, are eligible to compete at the FEI Promotional League Final in Barcelona, Spain in September. The winning team from this competition will qualify for the 2012 FEI Nations Cup™ along with the 2011 European Promotional League champions.
Photo Caption: Pictured this afternoon were CSIO Barcelona Show Director Daniel Giro (left), and FEI Jumping Director John Roche (right) at the draw for the order-of-go for the FEI Nations Cup™ Promotional League Final 2011 which will take place tomorrow afternoon (Sunday 25 September) at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: FEI/Nacho Olano.