Less than a month after the Olympic jumping competition, a host of the stars from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio have headed to Barcelona for this week’s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 Final.
The French side that took team gold at Rio will be joined by horse-and-rider combinations from across the globe who all want to secure the prestigious Furusiyya title.
A total of 46 countries lined out in the 19 qualifiers staged across the globe during this 107th season, and 18 nations will be represented when the curtain is raised at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona on Thursday.
It's thought the French will be big contenders after their Olympic success, with Kevin Staut, Philippe Rozier, Roger Yves Bost and Penelope Leprevost making up the team. They will join seven other teams from the European Division 1 qualifying series, including the League winners from The Netherlands.
The Dutch team, made up of Jeroen Dubbeldam, Gerco Schroder, Ruben Romp, Harrie Smolders and Maikel van der Vleuten will be competing while Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Germany and Sweden will also be giving it their best shot, the latter bolstered by the presence of newly-crowned Olympic silver medallist Peder Fredricson.
Last year’s Furusiyya champions from Belgium have been struggling this season and finished second-last on the league table, so Niels Bruynseels, Pieter Devos, Jerome Guery, Nicola Philippaerts and Gregory Wathelet will be hoping to be back on form at this event.
And then there are the British of course, who will by buoyed up by the extraordinary performance of Nick Skelton and Big Star who claimed the very first individual Olympic gold medal for their country on the final afternoon of the Games.
With Scott Brash, who will be on top of his game after his recent victory in Spruce Meadows, as well as the Whitaker brothers Michael and John and Tim Stockdale on the British side, they may well be a force to be reckoned with.
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 will battle it out in Friday night’s Longines Challenge Cup.
For further information on the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 Final at Real Club de Polo in Barcelona from 22 to 25 September, visit www.csiobarcelona.com