BARCELONA HOSTS DECIDING ROUND
The Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain plays host to this weekend's Meydan FEI Nations CupTM Promotional League Final.
The venue staged the equestrian events of the 1992 Olympic Games and, more recently, the finals of the six-year-long Samsung Super League series. A total of seven countries have qualified to contest for the two available places in the top-level Meydan FEI Nations CupTM series in 2010. Those places will be decided by the result of next Sunday afternoon's final competition.
It has been a long season for the teams in the European Promotional League which began back in April at Lummen in Belgium before moving on to Copenhagen (DEN), Linz-Ebelsberg (AUT) and Lisbon (POR) in May, Piatra Neamt (ROU), Albena (BUL), Drammen (NOR), Sopot (POL) and Hamina (FIN) in June, Gijon (ESP) in July and finally to Bratislava (SVK) and Istanbul (TUR) in August.
Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Spain, Finland and Poland have emerged from the European region while Canada sends a developmental squad based on its "Own the Podium" programme. Originally launched in 2005 to prepare athletes for the forthcoming Winter Olympics in 2010, the programme has now been extended to hone the skills of its equestrian performers ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games. This country which boasts not only Olympic team silver but also individual gold from the 2008 Games in Hong Kong can be expected to be super-competitive as riders will be keen to leave a good impression on their national selectors.
The action began yesterday (Thursday) with two Speed competitions and a Two-Phase class and the Grand Prix takes place during the Gala evening tonight (Friday). The Queen's Cup is the feature event on Saturday but it is Sunday afternoon's Meydan FEI Nations CupTM Promotional League final that will draw the biggest crowds as the seven competing nations battle it out for the lion's share of the €90,000 prize-fund and those all-important starting places in the 2010 elite series.
Following the successful staging of the 2009 Meydan FEI Nations Cup Series, a precursor to this competition, Meydan will continue to showcase its brand to show jumping enthusiasts at the upcoming event. Mohammad Al Khayat, Meydan Group's Commercial Director said: "This event holds much significance in the Equestrian world, not only because of the calibre of its competitors, but also due to the reputation of its organisers. The Meydan Group encompasses forward-thinking vision for both the equine and business world, where we combine tradition with innovation in our strategies and execution. We feel this alliance serves as the perfect platform for us to continue engaging with the Equestrian community and highlighting our steadfast commitment to the sport".
Located in Dubai, Meydan City comprises of four sub-districts: the Meydan Racecourse, which is the first project to be launched in March 2010 and also the venue for the next Dubai World Cup; Meydan Horizons, Meydan Metropolis and Meydan Godolphin Parks. When completed, the Meydan Grandstand and Racecourse will not only be the largest racing facility in the world, it will also be the first integrated equine, leisure, entertainment and business centre.