On Friday, the “Longines Equestrian Beijing Masters” kicks off at the Olympic Stadium of Beijing. The Chinese organisers from “Dashing Equestrian” are also receiving support from Germany.
In addition to the show-jumper Ludger Beerbaum, the organisers of the World Equestrian Festival, CHIO Aachen, are also on-site at the “Bird’s Nest”. We spoke to the CHIO Show Director, Frank Kemperman.
Question: How has the Longines Equestrian Beijing Masters developed over the past eight years?
Kemperman: The show has got better and better and increasingly more attractive. We have achieved a great deal together with our Chinese partners and improved a lot. But, I find it much more important that over this period of time the quality of the riders and horses has significantly improved. Of course, they haven’t reached the quality that exists in Europe yet, but one sees that the sport in China has developed. The Chinese will be able to claim some of the top placings here this year. Things are progressing step by step.
Question: How is the team from Aachen involved?
Kemperman: We are here to provide support and assistance to make sure the show is successful. At the start, some people were sceptical, but in the meantime we have become a real team and work very well together.
Frank Kemperman in the "Bird's Nest". Photo: Longines Beijing Masters/Stefano Grasso
Question: The special thing about the show is its concept.
Kemperman: Yes, it is unique worldwide. Normally, the Chinese riders can sit on the stands and watch – here they can compete against some of the best riders in the world. From the very beginning, the concept aimed to develop the sport and bring the best riders of China together with international top stars. In my opinion, this is a great experience for both parties. Not to mention the exceptional venue of course – the Bird’s Nest is fantastic, an incredible building.
Question: When will we see the first Chinese riders among the world elite?
Kemperman: One also sees very many young people here in the side competitions – the time will come that some of these riders will be able to establish themselves on the top circuit. There are already several Chinese riders, who keep on returning to Europe, to improve further and learn more. Other show-jumpers have been the inspiration here – for example Sameh el Dahan from Egypt recently won in Spruce Meadows. The Japanese are also incredibly strong. So why shouldn’t we see the first Chinese rider among the top 100 of the Longines ranking soon?