Date: Wednesday February 20 - Saturday February 23
Venue: Al Forsan International Sports Resort
Al Forsan Equestrian Centre, Abu Dhabi, Thursday February 14: Abu Dhabi is to host the Middle East qualifier leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup ™, part of the UAE’s most important international showjumping event of the year, the President of the UAE Showjumping Cup presented by Longines, held at Al Forsan Equestrian Centre from February 20-23.
The show, which in addition to featuring some of the world’s top horse and rider partnerships is also designed to be a fun-filled event for all the family, is the traditional end of the UAE’s burgeoning international showjumping season.
The event is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and organised by the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation, working alongside the FEI and Abu Dhabi Sports Council. The President of the UAE Showjumping Cup presented by Longines will feature classes for Children, Juniors, as well as exciting five-star classes for the international stars of the sport.
The all-important Longines FEI Nations Cup of Jumping™ qualification class, won in 2018 by New Zealand with Ireland and Italy supplying second and third places, will be the climax of the four-day event.
International riders will vie for individual honours on Thursday afternoon in the Longines Grand Prix, a class won last year by Saudi Arabia’s Olympian, Ramzy Al Duhami and his horse, Ted.
Team UAE will be attempting to emulate the achievements of the UAE’s youth teams, which won all three of their respective Group VII categories at the youth versions of the same event held at the HH Ruler of Sharjah Cup three weeks ago.
Mohammed Al Hajri, a member of Team UAE who was selected by the FEI as ambassador for the event said: “This the most important outing of the season for us. The top two Middle Eastern teams from this show will gain direct qualification to the Longines FEI Nations Cup of Jumping™ finals in Barcelona this October, a hugely prestigious global competition, where we want to fly the UAE flag. Team UAE has qualified three times now and we hope to make it a fourth time.
“It is also a key show for individual UAE riders, we work all season with this goal in mind. It is the President’s Cup, and everyone wants to ride well at our most important show on home soil.”
Team UAE, the Asian Games silver medalists in 2010, are no strangers to success in Barcelona having won the FEI Challenge Cup at the Longines FEI Nations Cup of Jumping™ Final in 2017. There they beat a host of global big-hitters including that year’s European Champions Ireland, and Brazil who finished second and third.
Team UAE qualified in 2018 alongside Saudi Arabia, will renew their rivalry with Ireland and also face tough competition from Germany, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Egypt.
Patrick Aoun, Longines Regional Brand Manager said: “As Title Partner, Official Timekeeper and Watch of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup and the President of the UAE Showjumping Cup, presented by Longines we are delighted to once again be back at this hugely significant event.
“We look forward to presenting the winners with Longines timepieces as recognition of their great achievements and to joining spectators as we witness events unfold in the arena.”
His Excellency Major General Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, President of the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation encouraged members of the public to attend the event and support their team.
“The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ and the President of the UAE Showjumping Cup presented by Longines, are the two most significant showjumping events to be held in the UAE,” he said. “The Federation views this show as the perfect vehicle to promote the sport of showjumping in the country and also demonstrate to visiting international riders and the many people watching on television and via the live streams, exactly the kind of professional, high profile horse sport event the UAE is capable of hosting.
“Over the four days of the show, riders of many different nationalities will compete, and we encourage anyone who is interested in the sport, or even those who are just curious, to visit the event and see for themselves the talent and passion that exists here.”
Abu Dhabi Sports Council Secretary General, His Excellency Aref Al Awani said: “Abu Dhabi is well known for staging prestigious and high-profile sporting events. This is no different. The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ and the President of the UAE Showjumping Cup presented by Longines are the pinnacle of showjumping in the UAE and offer first-class facilities, the highest five-star level of competition and international exposure to competitors. We wish the best of luck to all athletes and horses.”
Ahmad Al Hammadi, Equestrian Academy Director, Al Forsan International Sport Resorts said: “We are very pleased to once again host the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ and the President of the UAE Showjumping Cup presented by Longines at Al Forsan. This venue offers international quality equestrian facilities and we are proud to have a proven track record of providing a stage equal to the distinguished events that we are honoured to host.”