Abu Dhabi season-opener launches Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2022 series

The winning Dutch team at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2021 in Barcelona, Spain - (L to R back) Willem Greve, Kevin Jochems, Harrie Smolders and Maikel van der Vleuten, (L to R front) Sanne Thijssen and Chef d’Equipe Rob Ehrens. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)
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Abu Dhabi season-opener launches Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2022 series

Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates will host the first leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2022 series next Sunday and, 113 years after it all began, this historic and evergreen tournament is all set for yet another super season.

The appeal of the Nations Cup concept never grows old as horses and riders proudly fly their national flags in the battle for the most precious team title of them all. There will be 10 qualifiers taking place across the globe on the road to the 2022 World Final in Barcelona, Spain at the end of September, and Sunday’s sole leg for the Middle East region has attracted a strong field from eight countries.

Great Britain sends just three athletes in William Funnell, Georgia Tame and yet another member of the extensive Whitaker family who have been pivotal to their country’s success for multiple decades – 29-year-old Donald Whitaker. All other nations send four, including Eqypt, Germany, Ireland, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the hosts.

However, regardless of the result, only Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates are eligible for the two qualifying spots on offer.

The winning Dutch team at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2021 in Barcelona, Spain - (L to R back) Willem Greve, Kevin Jochems, Harrie Smolders and Maikel van der Vleuten, (L to R front) Sanne Thijssen and Chef d’Equipe Rob Ehrens. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)
The winning Dutch team at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2021 in Barcelona, Spain – (L to R back) Willem Greve, Kevin Jochems, Harrie Smolders and Maikel van der Vleuten, (L to R front) Sanne Thijssen and Chef d’Equipe Rob Ehrens. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

5* level showjumping

All 10 legs will be staged at CSIO5* level, and rounds two, three and four take place in the North/Central America and Caribbean region with two qualifying spots up for grabs here. The first will be held at Coapexpan in Mexico in March followed by San Juan Capistrano in California, USA in May and Vancouver in Canada in early June.

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Then it will be time for Europe Division 1 to get underway at St Gallen in Switzerland before moving on to Sopot in Poland and Rotterdam in The Netherlands later in June. Falsterbo in Sweden and Hickstead in Great Britain will play host in July, and all these events will provide the perfect viewing and selection platform for the ECCO FEI World Championships 2022 which begin in Herning, Denmark a week later. The last Division 1 qualifier will be held in Dublin, Ireland on Friday 19 August.

A total of 10 countries will compete in Division 1 including Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden.

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Defending champions

For the third time since the series Final was established in Barcelona, Spain in 2013 it is the Dutch who are defending champions, having pipped Ireland by a narrow margin at the thrilling 2021 finale.

Team Italy were relegated to the EEF series at the end of last season when Czech Republic earned promotion, and with each nation counting results from four designated events and only seven qualifying spots on offer to Europe Division 1 sides, the Czech contingent will need to start out strong from the outset.

There are Final spots available to the two best South American teams competing at this summer’s World Championships while two countries from the Asia/Australasia region and one African nation can qualify through the Longines Rankings. There is also a single spot on offer through the Nations Cup rankings for Eurasian National Federations.

However as it stands right now the only country absolutely assured of qualification before the new series begins are the Spanish hosts of the hugely popular Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final which will take place on their hallowed ground at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain from 29 September to 2 October 2022.

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Author: Suzanne Ashton Founder, Everything Horse email: sashton@everythinghorseuk.co.uk

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