Barcelona to host the Final Event of the 2003 Samsung Super League  

14 Sep 2003

Welcome to Barcelona! 
 
Barcelona CSIO will host the final event of the Samsung Super League Nations Cup which will take place on 21 September at the Real Club de Polo. It was evident from the very beginning of this first season that, with national pride at stake, the competition would be very keen indeed but no-one could have anticipated the degree of enthusiasm and determination with which the series has been embraced. From the outset the tension and excitement has been unusually high and the build-up to the final in the Spanish city which played host to the 1992 Olympic Games is intense. A total of eight teams qualified for the League which takes place over eight rounds of competition at eight different venues. After seven competitions the Samsung Super League standings are as follows: 1. France - 52.30 points 2. Ireland - 41.75 points 3. Great Britain - 36.00 points 4. Holland - 25.00 points 5. Germany - 23.75 points 6. Belgium - 18.50 points 7. Sweden - 16.30 points 8. Italy - 13.80 points. The French have held the advantage from the very start but have been obliged to fend off a strong challenge from the Irish whose Chef d’Equipe, Tommy Wade, made it quite clear from the beginning of the season that the Samsung Super League title was his main goal for 2003. France won the first round on their home soil in La Baule in early May and then confirmed supremacy when also topping the next leg in Rome two weeks later. The Irish began to look dangerous however with victories at both St Gallen, Switzerland and Aachen, Germany the following month before the British flexed their muscles with a show of strength on their home turf in Hickstead in July. The Irish were firm favourites to win at Dublin but a disappointing performance saw them having to settle for joint-third along with the Dutch as the British slotted into runner-up spot behind the French and a disastrous outing in Rotterdam last week has left the Irish now looking more than a bit vulnerable. The result in Rotterdam was unexpected. The Dutch team had been struggling at the lower end of the League table but with the course reduced in size due to problems over poor grounds conditions they triumphed, consequently promoting themselves to a considerably better position at this late stage of the series. Germany too looks comfortable enough but Belgium, Sweden and Italy are facing a desperate fight to avoid relegation at the end of the season. The team finishing bottom of the table will drop down to normal Samsung Nations Cup competition in 2004 while the highest-finishing nation in that series will be promoted to Super League level, so a great deal hangs in the balance going into the final in Barcelona where double-points are available. The Swiss, hugely disappointed that they did not make the cut for 2003, have campaigned long and hard this summer and led the Samsung Nations Cup Series standings since the beginning. Everything changed after Spruce Meadows, where the US team scored 10 points, moving up to 1st place of the Samsung Nations Cup Series with a total of 43 points (same as Switzerland, but with a greater number of victories). The host team of Barcelona, Spain is 3rd on the score board with 26 points. Surprises, however, have been the order of the day in the inaugural Samsung Super League. There was never any doubt about the strength of the French who are reigning World Champions and who ride many of the best horses in the show jumping world today, but their sheer consistency has been awesome. If the French have been brilliant however the Italian teams were at the other end of the equation until, quite suddenly in Rotterdam, they jumped themselves into runner-up spot with a very impressive performance. Still holding last place on the leaderboard they may yet escape relegation if they can follow through with another good result in Barcelona so it is all still to play for… As host country, Spain joins the action at this final leg where there is so much at stake. Visit www.csiobarcelona.com and www.samsungsuperleague.com

 

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