The penultimate leg of the Samsung Nations Cup Series took place last Friday 8 October in Athens (GER). Riders from 17 countries participated, among which 11 with a team. The event took place at the Olympic stadium of Markopoulo, and saw the participation of the two contenders for the Super League status: Sweden and Switzerland.
Ireland won the Samsung Nations Cup of Greece, after a jump-off against Sweden. It was the third time that the Irish team was victorious at the CSIO of the Hellenic capital after 1998 and 1999. The Irish team composed of Peter Smyth/Zara Pride, Shane Breen/World Cruise, Gerry Flynn, Bornacoola and Conor Swail Conduct, concluded the competition on 16 points, as did the determined Swedish Team. The technical course was built by Uliano Vezzani.
Gerry Flynn, who was the only Irish to go clear in both rounds, was sent to the Jump-off against Svante Johnasson, who had scored the only double clear of the Swedish team on Nostradamus 972. The Irish pair went clear on 40.12 seconds. Johnasson gave everything possible to beat the time set by the Flynn and finished on only 39.48 seconds, but had two rails down.
Switzerland finished 3rd with 20 points in total, ahead of Hungary (22) and Germany (28).
The host team had a marvellous first round with only 4 faults which brought them to second position. Petris, Mytilineou and Athanasiades were the three riders to return for the second round. To the disappointment of the spectators, the Greek team collapsed and scored 32 penalties to finish overall 7th. Italy, Turkey and Croatia did not qualify for the second round.
Before the last event of the Series, which will be held in Buenos Aires (ARG) on Friday 12 November, Sweden leads the standings with 44 points, ahead of Switzerland on 43 points. The winner of the Series will be promoted to the Samsung Super League status for 2005, replacing Italy, which was relegated after the last event of the Series in Barcelona (ESP) last month.
Both Switzerland and Sweden will compete in Buenos Aires, along with Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina.
The Swedish Equestrian Federation will do its utmost to reclaim their Super League status (they were the ones to be relegated at the end of the 2003 season). Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Peder Fredricson from the Olympic bronze winning team, Helena Persson Olympic reserve and Svante Johansson will make the trip to South America. According to Chef d'Equipe Rolf Grass, the Swiss selection includes Niklaus Schurtenberger, Pius Schwizer, Beat Grandjean and Beat Mändli, but the final team will be confirmed in a few weeks.
The last CSIO of the season, which will be held at the Haras del Capricho near Buenos Aires promises to be thrilling. To beat Sweden and finish on top of the Samsung Nations Cup standings, Switzerland must either win (to end up with a total of 46 points) or be second to any other team than Sweden. By finishing second, the Swiss would end up with the same total as Sweden (44 points), but would win on the number of first place classifications, which serves as tie break for the promotion to Super League status. Sweden won in Drammen (NOR), Falsterbo (SWE) and Bratislava (SVK), while Switzerland was victorious in Ypäjä (FIN), Keckskemet (HUN), Poderbrady (CZE) and Zagreb (CRO).
Press contact CSIO Buenos Aires
Romina Mendez, Marketing Director El Capricho 2004 CSIO-W
Telephone: 0054911 56906994 , email: firstname.lastname@example.org