The win for Ireland’s Bertram Allen at the eighth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2021/2022 North American League in Ocala, Florida last weekend marked the last of the qualifiers that have taken place right across the globe over the past 12 months.
The last invitations to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022 which will take place in Leipzig, Germany from 6 to 10 April have now been sent out, so the countdown has already begun.
Despite some disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to cancellations in North Africa, China and South East Asia, a total of 11 leagues were completed. While Allen reigned supreme last Sunday it is his compatriot, Conor Swail, who swept to victory in the North American series bolstered by a hat-trick of wins – at Vancouver, Sacramento and Fort Worth – along with two runner-up placings.
Canada’s Tiffany Foster clinched second place while the USA’s Natalie Dean finished third ahead of Australia’s Rowan Willis in fourth place. A total of 19, including five extra athletes, are invited from this series which consisted of eight legs staged across Canada, Mexico and the USA. (Ed. note: Canadian participation in this Final is expected to be announced shortly by Equestrian Canada)
The Central European League Final 2022 took place two weeks ago at the spectacular Tauron Arena in Krackow, Poland and this was a thrilling fight to the finish. There were three qualifying spots up for grabs, with Hungary’s Zoltan Czekus leading the standings going into the final showdown ahead of Lithuania’s Andrius Petrovas in second and Angelos Touloupis from Greece in third.
The athletes with the best five results from the eight-leg Northern Sub-League and the four-leg Southern Sub-League made the cut to the Final which was staged over three rounds of competition.
And it was a super-close contest to the very end, with Lithuania’s Petrovas coming out on top by a narrow one-point margin ahead of Hungary’s Czekus in second, while Polish veteran, Jaroslow Skrzycznski, pipped Greek athlete Touloupis for that third spot.
Earlier in February the two Arab Leagues were completed. Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Alsharbatly topped the Middle East Sub-League when collecting 60 points from six starts including victory at the opening leg of the eight-competition series on home ground in Riyadh in November. Syria’s Amre Hamcho finished a close second while the UAE’s Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi clinched third ahead of Jordan’s Ibrahim Hani Bisharat in fourth place.
A total of 51 athletes competed in the Middle East, but just seven Egyptian athletes contested the Arab League North African Sub-League in which Mouda Zeyada was clear winner when collecting points at four of the six legs. Abdelrahman Shousha finished second ahead of Mohammed Osama El Borai in third, and there are five slots available at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2022 to athletes from this region.
In January Tegan Fitzsimon posted a definitive victory in the 2021/2022 New Zealand League. With four brilliant wins from five legs, the 31-year-old athlete collected a massive 90 points to claim her third series title.
At the exciting final in Hawera she clinched it with a double-clear with Windermere Cappuccino but was chased to the line by talented 20-year-old Sophie Scott who claimed second and third places. Scott finished third on the league table, behind Maurice Beatson in second.
Irishman Denis Lynch found himself topping the Western European League when it came to an early conclusion in London (GBR) in December. He competed in five of the six qualifiers, finishing with a total of 39 points which left him just ahead of Great Britain’s Harry Charles in second on 38.
Charles’ victory in London confirmed his arrival at the very top level of the sport as he brought a hugely successful year, that included his Olympic debut in Tokyo and victory for his country in the Challenge Cup at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2021 in Barcelona (ESP), to a close. The 22-year-old Briton, who is quickly establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with, finished ahead of Brazil’s Eduardo Pereira de Menezes in third while Swiss star and reigning European team gold medallist Martin Fuchs finished fourth on the WEL leaderboard.
December also saw the South American South League draw to a close. This was an all-Brazilian affair in which Flavio Grillo Araujo reigned supreme.
Runner-up spot at the second leg in São Paulo, and good results at both Rio de Janeiro and again at the last qualifier in São Paulo last December secured pole position in the series in which Stephan de Freitas Barcha and Daniel Cesar Khury finished second and third.
Across the globe
Meanwhile across the globe Lisa Williams and her bold, brave gelding Campbell topped the South African League standings – and not for the first time. The pairing whose long and fascinating journey to compete at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA was well-documented, posted wins on three of their five outings in the six-leg series including pole placings at Shongweni in June and September and in Kromdraai in October 2021.
The dynamic duo finished 21st at the last Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in 2019. Runner-up spot here went to Nicole Horwood, while Christopher van der Merwe and Ashlee Healy finished third and fourth.
Kazuteru Kitai came out on top in the Japan League which concluded in Miki in December. A total of 13 athletes lined out over the seven-leg series in which Jun Takada finished second and Ryuma Hirota finished third.
The Eurasian League Final took place in Moscow (RUS) last October where Uzbekistan’s Bekzod Kurbanov and Umid Kamilov clinched the top two places. Kurbanov will be the sole representative from this series in Leipzig in four weeks’ time.
The 2021/2022 Australian League was a brief three-leg tour that visited Werribee in March, Gatton in June and Caboolture last June. Both Thomas McDermott and Amber Fuller racked up 36 points apiece, but McDermott got the nod for the league title when final placings in all three competitions were taken into account. Third place here went to James Arkins and a total of 39 athletes competed in this series.
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