Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ Promotional League Final

FEI TV - Watch the competition LIVE on FEI TV, starting 15.30 local time on Sunday 19 September 2010 -

All Set for Final Showdown in Barcelona
The 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ may be over, but there is one last piece of the jig-saw to be put in place ahead of the 2011 season.  At Barcelona in Spain this coming weekend, the last remaining qualifying spot for next year’s top level series will be decided when the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ Promotional League Final takes place at the Real Club de Polo on Sunday, 19 September.

Belgium has already earned a place in next year's elite tournament after a determined, year-long Promotional League campaign that began last October in Athens, Greece and continued through nine more qualifiers at Lummen (BEL), Linz-Ebelsberg (AUT), Lisbon (POR), Sopot (POL), Istanbul (TUR), Ypaja (FIN), Drammen (NOR), Bratislava (SVK) and finally at Gijon (ESP) earlier this month.  This netted a total of 68 points which clinched a clear victory in the series and earned re-entry to top-level nations cup jumping, but they were closely followed by Italy who lined out at 11 of the 12 Promotional League events, picking up 61 points and keeping the pressure on them all the way.

As Promotional League champions the Belgians can now rest on their laurels, but the Italians join Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Finland and Canada in the fight for the last qualifying spot which will go to the winners of next Sunday's event in Barcelona.  And the host nation of Spain will also compete, although their result does not count toward qualification for the top-level 2011 series.  The Spanish put in a tremendous performance on their Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ debut this year, but sadly lost out when four of the ten competing nations were relegated at the end of the season.  They must now spend the next 12 months in the 2010/2011 Promotional League attempting to re-qualify for the super-series in 2012.

The host nation, however, can be expected to put up formidable opposition next Sunday at the Real Club de Polo which has been home to many momentous show jumping battles down the years.  The venue, which staged the jumping competitions during the 1992 Olympic Games, always attracts big crowds of horse-lovers for this annual and hugely-popular fixture.  Spanish Chef d'Equipe Marco Fuste has still not confirmed his side, but he will be sure to send out the best possible combinations to fly the home flag with pride.


Italian team manager Markus Fuchs has selected a five-strong squad that includes Fabio Brotto, Giuseppe D'Onofrio, Gabriele Grassi, Luca Maria Moneta and Lucia Vizzini.  Italy dropped out of the top-league series last season, but their last-leg victory in Dublin (IRL) heralded an extraordinary rise in fortunes as, just a few weeks later, they scooped team silver at the Alltech FEI European Championsihips in Windsor (GBR).  However the loss of several of their top horses this year, including Natale Chiaudani's SNAI Seldana di Campalto, has considerably diminished their competitive strength .  

Geir Gulliksen is one of the toughest competitors on the circuit and he heads up the Norwegian side that also includes Nina Braaten, Stein Endresen, Nicholai Lindbjerg and Stine Loekken.  Former German jumping star Achaz von Buchwaldt is Chef d'Equipe for Denmark, and he includes Tina Lund, Emilie Martinsen, Thomas Sandgaard, Andras Schou and Karina Rie Truelsen in his selection.  Michael Bullman has a long connection with the Hungarian team, and he brings Mariann Hugyecz, Sandor Szasz, Gyula Szuhai and Jamie Wingrave, while Austria will be represented by Stefan Eder, Wolfgang Otschmaier, Claudia Neureiter, Matthias Wolfgang Raisch and Christian Schranz.  Finland has also made the cut into this final, and Lars Parmier's side consists of the experienced Nina Fagerstrom and Sebastian Numminen along with Satu Liukkonen and Anna-Julia Kontio.  

All of these nations have qualified from the European FEI Nations Cup series, while Canada has earned a place as winners of the North and South American league.  And with Yann Candele on call-up along with Jenna Thompson, Keean White and "Captain Canada" himself - Ian Millar - the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ Promotional League Final promises to be an intriguing, exciting and unpredictable afternoon of great sport.

The draw for order-of-go takes place on Saturday, 18 September, at 16.00 local time and Sunday's action kicks off with the parade of teams at 15.00 followed by the first rider into the arena at 15.30 local time.  Don't miss a moment - watch it all LIVE on FEI TV -

Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ 2011
The result of this weekend's event in Barcelona will decide the final qualifying place for the 2011 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ in which eight nations will compete.  Already qualified for next year's top-level series are Belgium, winners of the 2010 FEI Nations Cup™ series, and the top six teams from the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ - France, USA, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany and The Netherlands.

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Photos:  Eric Lamaze, Jessica Kurten and Ian Millar.