EEF Press Release
Stage set for exciting Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Division 2 decider in Budapest
by Louise Parkes
After six thrilling qualifying competitions, a total of nine nations have made the cut to the Europe Division 2 Final of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2018 series which will take place in Budapest (HUN) on Sunday 12 August.
Only the top two countries will go through from there to the Longines World Final in Barcelona (ESP) in October and the qualified nations are as follows:
Group A: Greece and Bulgaria
Group B: Ukraine
Group C: Portugal, Austria and Czech Republic
Group D: Poland and Norway.
Hungary will also compete as host nation.
New EEF qualifying system
This season a new qualifying system devised by the EEF (European Equestrian Federation), and approved by the Bureau of the world governing body, the FEI, was introduced for Europe Division 2. The 18 participating nations - Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Turkey and Ukraine - were divided into four groups.
Greece and Bulgaria took the two places on offer in Group A after the last event took place at CSIO1* in Bojourishte (BUL) on Sunday 1 July. They were joined by Romania in this group, and the Romanians were consistent when placing fourth at both legs. After a fifth place on their home turf at the Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Centre in Athens earlier this month, the Greeks topped the leaderboard after victory in Bojourishte (BUL), and their Bulgarian hosts will join them in Budapest after finishing an impressive second in Athens and fifth at their home fixture.
As the National Federations of Group B did not host a Nations Cup competition within their Group, only one team could qualify for Budapest through the Nations Cup Ranking and third-place finishes at both Athens and Bojourishte clinched the single qualifying spot for Ukraine.
Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal and Slovakia competed in Group C, and although Portugal had a ninth-place result at CSIO3* Linz (AUT) in May, their fourth place at CSIO3* Lisbon (POR) in early June clinched top spot on the leaderboard. Austria will join them at the Division 2 showdown in five weeks’ time after finishing sixth in Linz and ninth in Lisbon for a total of 92.5 points which left them 17.5 points behind the Portuguese but a long way ahead of Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary who all lined out just once, at the Austrian fixture.
Meanwhile Poland were convincing winners of Group D after taking runner-up spot at CSIO3* Drammen (NOR) in early May and slotting into eighth place at CSIO3* Uggerhalne (DEN) two weeks later. Their points tally of 135 left them more than 32 points ahead of the Norwegians who took the second qualifying slot after lining up third at their home event and tenth at the Danish fixture.
With a total of €433,400 in prize-money on offer in Budapest, including €200,000 in the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ of Hungary which is also a qualifier for the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 in Tryon (USA) and for next year’s FEI European Championships in Rotterdam (NED), there is plenty of strong incentive for the nine participating teams at the Europe Division 2 Final.
The competition will be intense, and every team will have their eyes on the main prize - one of the two available qualifying spots for the 18-nation start-list at the prestigious annual Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final which will take place once again at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona from 4 to 7 October..