Samsung Super League with FEI Gets Underway in France; US Draws Second Spot
RELEASE: May 8, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Louise Parkes from an FEI Press Release
LaBaule, France - A Dutch show jumper will be first into the ring as the 2008 Samsung Super League with FEI series gets underway in La Baule, France tomorrow afternoon.
At the draw held this morning, the order of go was decided as follows:
1. The Netherlands
9. Great Britain.
A number of nations have nominated five riders but Switzerland and Germany have sent just four so Steve Guerdat, Christina Liebherr, Jane Richard and Pius Schwizer will be lining up for the former while Thomas Vos, Thomas Muhlbauer, Otto Becker and Max Kuhner will represent the latter.
The Netherlands selection looks strong with Angelique Hoorn, Marc Houtzager, Piet Raijmakers, Gerco Schroder and Vincent Voorn to choose from while Belgium sends Niels Bruynseels, Philipe Le Jeune, Patrick McEntee, Judy-Ann Melchior and Ludo Phillipaerts.
The ones to beat however may be the British whose combination of proven and rising talent includes Nick Skelton, Robert Smith, Tim Gredley, Ben Maher and William Whitaker. British fortunes fluctuated between brilliant and disastrous throughout the 2007 season so they will, no doubt, want to begin on a good note this time around and then maintain their equilibrium as the eight-leg series progresses.
American team manager, George Morris, has five riders in LaBaule to choose from: Charlie Jayne, Anne Kursinski, Kate Levy, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Will Simpson. The recently-returned Irish, who clawed their way back last year after relegation in 2006, have the services of Denis Lynch, Cian O'Connor, Capt Shane Carey, Marie Burke and Edward Doyle.
Like the Belgians, the Irish did not qualify an Equestrian Team for this summer's Olympic Games in Hong Kong so they can concentrate their energy on keeping their Samsung Super League with FEI hopes alive and Irish team manager Robert Splaine said today that they have every intention of doing just that.
Sweden has had to fight long and hard to stay in the series over the past few years and team manager Maria Gretzer will be determined to get a good early result from her squad that includes Peter Eriksson, Helena Lundback, Frederik Gustafsson, Rigmore Arvidsson-Maggi and Lotta Schultz while the French, relegated last season, will want their flag to fly high tomorrow afternoon. French Chef d'Equipe, Gilles Bertran de Balanda, said today "it wasn't bad luck when we were relegated last year - we had a bad season with bad results but we will be back" so they will be filled with fire when they ride into the ring before their home crowd.
France dominated this series during the first two seasons in 2003 and 2004 before the USA registered victory in 2005 but the Germans are the defending champions having taken the Samsung Super League with FEI trophy in both 2006 and again last year.
The Dutch however are in strident form in recent times and, second-placed finishers in 2007; they are likely to be a force to be reckoned with throughout 2008.
The annual battle of the elite show jumping nations in the world begins tomorrow in La Baule at 14:30 local time.
SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE - NATIONAL PRIDE, INTERNATIONAL PASSION!
SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE WITH FEI - 2008 CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
ROUND 1 - La Baule (FRA) 5-11 May; ROUND 2 - Rome (ITA) 22-25 May; ROUND 3 - St Gallen (SUI) 29 May - 1 June: ROUND 4 - Rotterdam (NED) 18-22 June; ROUND 5 - Aachen (GER) 1-6 July; ROUND 6 - Hickstead (GBR) 24-27 July; ROUND 7 - Dublin (IRL) 8-10 August; ROUND 8 and FINAL - Barcelona (ESP) 18-21 September.
You can access all the latest Samsung Super League with FEI news and information on website www.samsungsuperleague.com.
Want to know more? Check out the comprehensive MEDIA GUIDE for the series, available in print (contact: olivia.