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Press Release

2019 LGCT and GCL Season Officially Declared Open at Qatar’s AL SHAQAB

Publication Date:
04/03/19 10:22 AM

The 2019 Longines Global Champions Tour and GCL series was officially launched today in a pre-season press conference, with the Championship declared ‘one of the best events in the world’ by local organisers.


The 2019 Longines Global Champions Tour and GCL series was officially launched today in a pre-season press
conference, with the Championship declared ‘one of the best events in the world’ by local organisers.

This year AL SHAQAB is the launchpad for the 14th season of LGCT and 4th year of GCL, with over 50 riders from
17 different countries heading to Qatar’s capital city to take part in this weekend’s competition. LGCT President and
Founder, and GCL Co-Founder Jan Tops spoke of the huge anticipation among fans around the world for the kick off
event of the season. "I am very happy to be in Doha - we call this our second home. We have been here for many
years and have a great relationship with [AL SHAQAB and the Qatar Foundation]. Everyone is watching the start of
the season to see which horse and rider combinations are on form [in the LGCT and GCL Championship]. The focus
[from around the world] is on Doha and this amazing facility.”

Last week the GCL teams were announced, with exciting rider changes and new faces taking part in the series. Jan
said: “This year the teams are stronger than ever. On top of that we have the success of the GC Playoffs in Prague
[last December], which is an exciting new concept for the riders.”

As the champions of show jumping gather at AL SHAQAB for the first event of the 2019 season, there was praise for
the impact the circuit has on motivating young riders and Qatar’s national riders. AL SHAQAB, a member of Qatar
Foundation, runs special programmes to encourage youngsters to take up riding and train to become future athletes,
and with the GCL team series providing a global platform for U25 competitors to train and gain experience on, the
future is bright for the next generation of show jumping talent.

Omar Al Mannai, Commercial Manager of AL SHAQAB spoke of the importance of LGCT and GCL holding an event
in Doha, alongside other premium events such as tennis, golf, Moto GP and athletics. "This event is in line with the
Qatar vision of 2030 - as the sporting hub. With the Federations and infrastructure available in Qatar we have to use
them in the best way possible in order to show our capability of hosting international events and prove the big part
that Qatar plays [in global sporting events]. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be the [pinnacle] of this and will contribute
to [the vision of] Qatar as a sporting destination. LGCT is one of the best events in the world.”

Omar also praised Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani, who was present at the press conference, for inspiring the next
generation of talent. “Sheikh Ali is a role model for all the young people who are taking part in this sport and we wish
him all the success for this edition of the LGCT. We have many plans that contribute to forming and training the
young riders [of the future].”

A youth camp will run alongside LGCT Doha, with 8-18 year old athletes able to meet and watch many of their
international heroes. Mohammed S. Al-Suwaidi, Equine Education Manager said:"The idea was to seize the
opportunity of this event, we are the first institution to put this together and we can focus on riders who have talent.
We have some of the best facilities in the world - the horses, riders and staff. The people love it.”

Competing for the home city team, the Doha Falcons, Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani highlighted the importance of
the Championship and the calibre of competition. "LGCT is world famous - it includes the best riders in the world and
participating in this event allows us to continue to improve. We cannot elevate our level if we don’t compete again the
best, so it is very important for our team to do this. As a Qatari team we are interested in the GCL as it is not possible
to participate in many team competitions and to have team spirit is very important for us.”

However Sheikh Ali admitted the GCL team line ups look particularly formidable this season. "We will work hard to be
in the top 5 - we will do our best but the teams are strong so our objective is to be the best we can."
And providing the "best for the best" is a priority for LGCT and GCL. Sport Director Marco Danese spoke of the
superb facilities AL SHAQAB provides the top international horses and riders: "This is one of the best facilities in the
world - every year we improve a little bit the conditions; not only the beautiful stadium but behind the scenes
everything is really perfect for the horses and riders. All the facilities for the horses are amazing this is really
important because it means the best horses and riders in the world are happy to be here and are able to enjoy the
high level of sport. We can guarantee the best conditions in the sport.”

The weekend will start at 14:45 on Thursday with the first round of GCL Doha kicking off at 17:45 local time. Home
team Doha Falcons will be in action, and have three riders on their roster this weekend - looking to play to their
strengths in front of their local crowd. Friday will see two top level competitions, before the GCL Doha winners are
revealed at 14:30 local time on Saturday 2nd March. The climax of the weekend, the LGCT Grand Prix of Doha kicks
off at 17:45 local time, with riders not only vying for the win but also the first golden ticket to the GC Playoffs and the
LGCT Super Grand Prix. The full competitions will be streamed live via GC TV, as well as broadcast around the


  • Fadi_AlShaqab_469-p_shqb-italy10.jpg

    Fadi Al Shaqab

    (Besson Carol x Abha Myra)
    2008 Bay Stallion
    International Program

  • IMG_3080.jpg

    Al Adeed Al Shaqab

    (Ansata Halim Shah x Sundar Alisayyah)
    1995 Grey Stallion
    Straight Egyptian Program

  • Farhoud04032010_0008(2-High).jpg

    Farhoud Al Shaqab

    (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x Johara Al Shaqab)
    2008 Grey Stallion
    Straight Egyptian Program

  • blue-marwan.jpg

    Marwan Al Shaqab

    (Gazal Al Shaqab x Little Liza Fame)
    2000 Bay Stallion
    International Program

  • 273P7178.jpg

    Gazal Al Shaqab

    (Anaza El Farid x Kajora)
    1995 Bay Stallion
    International Program

  • AX2E2012.JPG

    Kahil Al Shaqab

    (Marwan Al Shaqab x OFW Mishaahl)
    2008 Bay Stallion
    International Program