2022 LGCT and GCL Season Declared Open At “Exceptional” Al Shaqab
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Al Shaqab, a member of Qatar Foundation, is the launchpad for the new season, which will see 51 riders from 19 different countries take on the best of the best in Qatar’s capital city from the 3rd to the 5th of March. The opening press conference set the scene for an electrifying weekend of top-level sport and high-stake competitions under the stunning, soaring, architecture of the iconic Longines Arena at Al Shaqab.
Omar Al Mannai, Event Director, LGCT Doha, and Commercial Manager, Al Shaqab, said: "This has become an annual event in Doha since it started in 2008. Here at Al Shaqab, you will find the best facilities for this kind of sport and the perfect venue to kick off the Longines Global Champions Tour. The growth of the sport has been tremendous in Qatar, and the leading riders love competing here."
Jan Tops, LGCT and GCL President and Founder, said: "Every year, the level of competition raises on our circuit. Last year, we saw Peder Fredricson, team Olympic champion, winning the individual circuit. Riders have been preparing for this season for the past two months. It is difficult enough to win one leg, but to win the championship, you have to have a unique horse, or horses, and a unique rider. All the riders are really focused to win the Longines Global Champions Tour, and obviously, we cannot deliver such a (quality) competition without the support of our partners during the year, especially Longines, who has been with us for many years."
Speaking about the GCL team series, Tops added: "People are now seeing that the format and the League is really working. It has become like the soccer games, where you get these teams working together to win overall. This year, we have three new teams, and the new format is going to be very important for equestrian sport in the future."
This season will see a new time fault rule come into play, which will be crucial in the GCL team classes, where all time and faults are added together.
Marco Danese, Sports Director, LGCT and GCL, said: "It will be interesting. We will see the consequence of the new rule in the team competition. The change is significant. Now, the time fault will become a very important part of the strategy, and we know that especially in the team competition, sometimes the rider will be going slowly to be sure of a clear for the team."
Danese also spoke about Al Shaqab phenomenal facilities for horses, riders, grooms, owners and spectators: "Every year, the team of Al Shaqab finds a way to improve the facilities. The facilities here are exceptional, the best in the world. First of all, for the horses, which is the most important part for us, as you know. But all the facilities, stables, arenas and also behind the scenes, are exceptional. Everything is prepared to be the best for the horses and for the riders. Everything is done in the perfect way. Owners are also happy to come to Doha, and when they come here, they know that they can be sure they will be at the top level."
The first round of the GCL team competition will begin at 6.10pm on March 3, with all the teams looking for a good start to their campaign in front of what promises to be an enthusiastic crowd. March 4 will see two top-level competitions, before the second round of the GCL competition takes place at 2.40pm on March 5. The LGCT Grand Prix of Doha kicks off at 6pm on the final day, with riders vying for the win, as well as the first golden ticket to the LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Prague Playoffs.
Tickets for the LGCT first leg are available at www.q-tickets.com.
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