8 May 2003
8 May 2003 Author: webmaster
Opening press conference and draw in La Baule 
Great Britain got the best starting position for the opening leg of the Samsung Super League series when the draw was made in La Baule tonight (Friday 9 May). The British were drawn last of the eight competing teams and, on this occasion, it was the Germans who were out of luck as they will be first into the arena at 2pm next Sunday. The order of go is as follows: 1. Germany 2. Holland 3. Sweden 4. Italy 5. Ireland 6. Belgium 7. France 8. Great Britain. German Chef d’Equipe, Sonke Sonksen, was philosophical about the fact that his team will run first. "We are not lucky, but if the teams are in the same order for the prize-giving on Sunday we will be happy then!" he said. Mr Sonksen remembered that it was seven years ago when Ludger Beerbaum and Alexandra Ledermann launched the original Samsung Nations Cup series at La Baule and said that it seems quite appropriate that the new Super League series is also to begin at the same venue. Swedish Chef d’Equipe, Sylve Soderstrand, explained that his country is small but is very happy to be taking part in the new Samsung Super League. "The whole project is very exciting and we are confident that we have a good team but we must fight here against eight very strong teams this weekend" he pointed out. Lucien Sommer, Belgian Chef d’Equipe, said that he, also, is from a small country. "We do not have enough riders to call upon for teams but we will be trying our very best - we are here to win even though all the other nations have come with their top riders and horses" Britain’s Derek Ricketts complimented the show organisers on the facilities at La Baule. He described the Super League as "an interesting and exciting new competition" and said he was hopeful that his country would hold their position within the top eight show jumping nations in the world. Italy’s Marco Danese agreed that the La Baule organisers do a great deal of work to improve the show every year but he warned that the Samsung Super League will be tough and technical – "like championship level competition" he predicted. Holland’s Bert Romp was short and to the point when he said that he will be happy if his team finishes where they are drawn, in second place, but Ireland’s Tommy Wade was, as usual, more outspoken. "The Irish strategy is to try to win all the Super League events" he said. "I am happy we have a good team – much better than for the last two years" and he added that World Champion, Dermott Lennon, who fractured his shoulder in a fall at the World Cup Qualifier in Gothenburg at the end of March is expected back in action "very soon". Jean Maurice Bonneau, French Chef d’Equipe, pointed out that the showground at La Baule is to undergo major renovations in a few weeks time and will be considerably improved for the 2004. "One year ago we had a Press Conference here about the Super League and I was very perplexed" he said, "but now it has been born and I am happy that it will seriously increase the visibility of the sport. In this format it is similar to the Six-Nations Rugby tournament and is easier to understand. As a breeding country we, the French, could not imagine not being included in the series and I’d like to thank Samsung for making it all possible and for their strong support for equestrian sport" he added. Tonight it was also announced that the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, has rejected the Swiss appeal for inclusion in the Samsung Super League. So the lights are on, the stage is set and it is "all systems go" for the first leg of the series which promises a season of world-class sport – eight super competitions, eight super teams but only one Super League title-holder….it all begins on the French coastline this Sunday…. From today you can access all the latest Samsung Super League news and information on our new website and don’t forget that Biographies on all Riders competing in the series are available on website . For full results, start lists, course plans and press releases from this weekend’s CSIO you can view La Baule website at . Want to know more? You can check the full rules for the Samsung Super League series on the FEI website, section reference – rules For more information: FEI Communications Muriel Faienza or consult FEI website