Everyone will be there: the N°1 in each of the four disciplines; the Olympic, European and World champions; winners of World Cup Finals and Rolex IJRC Top 10 Finals! Of course, being named the world’s best horse show earlier this month has made the event even more appealing, and given the riders and drivers even more reason to compete.
They will all be taking part from 7th to 10th December. There will be no fewer than nine Olympic champions competing in the show jumping alone, including three individual champions: Jeroen Dubbeldam (Netherlands), Eric Lamaze (Canada) and Steve Guerdat (Switzerland). A total of 16 Olympic medallists will crowd into the world’s largest indoor arena, among them Peder Fredricson (Sweden), who won silver at the Rio Olympics and is this year’s European champion. Harrie Smolders (Netherlands) and Cian O’Connor (Ireland) – the European silver and bronze holders respectively – will also be in Geneva. Meanwhile, Christian Ahlmann from Germany has every right to be hopeful: he’s European champion and he has won one World Cup Final and one Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final.
The Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final will be fought out between ten riders from nine nations. The current world Nº1, Kent Farrington from the USA, will have to fight off formidable adversaries such as Kevin Staut (FRA), Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and Grégory Wathelet (BEL). Sunday’s climax, the Rolex Grand Prix – one leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – will feature riders such as Scott Brash from the UK, the only rider ever to have achieved the Grand Slam; Brazilian Pedro Veniss, winner in Geneva last year; and Steve Guerdat, three-time winner of this prestigious competition and very consistent this year in the Nations Cup (10 clear rounds) and in Grand Prix events (10 wins).
Spectators will also be able to cheer on the stars of tomorrow in Friday evening’s Youth Challenge, featuring the Swiss Under-21 team led by the reigning European champion Bryan Balsiger.
The FEI Driving World Cup round will give seven drivers a chance to earn precious points on the world circuit. Australian Boyd Exell has won the Swiss round every year since his first appearance in Geneva in 2008. But maybe Edouard Simonet from Belgium, European bronze medallist this year, or the American Chester Weber, who won silver in the World Equestrian Games 2014, will rock the boat this year. As could Switzerland’s Jérôme Voutaz, second in the last World Cup Final, who is very much at home in the Palexpo arena.
Dressage fans will have the opportunity to admire the discipline’s queen. Isabell Werth, from Germany, has made a clean sweep of the Olympic, European and World titles and is currently dominating the international scene with her two horses, Emilio and Weihegold. Olympic medallist Beatriz Ferrer Salat will make the trip from Spain and Patrik Kittel, fourth in the 2016 World Cup Final, will travel from Sweden. Representing Switzerland will be, among others, Marcela Krinke Susmelj and local rider Antonella Joannou, who managed a superb fourth place last year in Geneva.
Geneva hosts the only Indoor Cross-country competition in Switzerland, presented by the Tribune de Genève. The current world Nº1 rider Michael Jung from Germany, who is also the reigning Olympic champion, will be taking part. Frenchmen Karim Laghouag and Mathieu Lemoine, team gold medals at Rio, will be alongside their compatriots Sidney Dufresne, two-time winner here in Geneva, and Thomas Carlile, who came third in the Young Horses event at world level a month ago. The Dutch team made up of Merel Blom, Tim Lips and Elaine Pen – bronze medallists at the 2014 World Equestrian Games – will be in the line-up alongside Ludwig Svennerstal of Sweden who won a team silver medal at the last Europeans. Women riders will be a force to reckon with too: Lara de Liedekerke from Belgium, double bronze team medallist at the European Championships and third last year in Geneva, and Eveline Bodenmüller from Switzerland. Note that the up-and-coming young Swiss rider Robin Godel will be using the occasion to gain some indoor experience. So, everything is coming together to make the 57th edition of CHI Geneva a memorable occasion.
Quelle: Corinne Druey, Pressechefin