Henrik von Eckermann has won the Grand Prix of the Longines Equestrian Beijing Masters 2017. On Sunday afternoon, the Swedish show-jumper asserted himself against ten international and 23 top Chinese riders with his borrowed horse Cincitty and jumped to his first victory in the Olympic Stadium in Beijing, the legendary Bird’s Nest. The US American rider Lauren Hough finished second, and third place went to Christian Ahlmann from Germany. Eleven riders had succeeded in reaching the jump-off, five of whom were Chinese.
“Second in the Grand Prix two years ago, I finally managed to take the victory this time. That is a fantastic feeling,“ is how Henrik von Eckermann described his triumph at the subsequent press conference and then continued by summing up the progress of the show as follows: “A lot has happened since I last competed here two years ago. The horses are better, the footing is super, but above all the Chinese riders have taken a huge step forward. If they manage to increase their speed in the jump-off slightly, we are really going to have to watch out next year! It is interesting to see how fast the sport is developing here.”
Since Friday, eleven international and the top Chinese riders have been competing against each other individually and in a team competition. Because at the Longines Equestrian Beijing Masters it is not about presenting the sport as a closed community of the best riders in the world, but instead about the sustainable development of the equestrian sport in China. The aim is to further improve the level of the Chinese riders by giving them the opportunity to compete directly against top international stars.
The supporting programme of the show also includes national competitions, trainer sessions and training courses. Due to the Chinese quarantine regulations, the international riders compete on borrowed Chinese horses, whereas the Chinese riders take part in the classes with their own horses. Over the three days of the show, in total 130 Chinese riders entered the ring at the in the meantime 7th edition of the Longines Equestrian Beijing Masters.