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Dazzling opening ceremony in Valkenswaard to celebrate 10 years of LGCT

Release date: 14/03/2016

A spectacular weekend of top international sport and entertainment, including young singing sensation Amira and 28 out of the top 30 riders in the world in action, will mark the 10 year anniversary of the Longines Global Champions Tour, and the inauguration of the new Tops International Arena venue in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands.

Next weekend will see a dazzling opening ceremony on Friday 14th August, featuring 11-year-old singer Amira Willighagen and a full orchestra and choir, followed by the team competition to mark the 10th anniversary of the championship series at the new arena. 

The 12th leg of the world’s leading show jumping circuit will see the legends and the modern day stars of the sport in action at the home of the Tour, founded by Dutch Olympic gold medallist Jan Tops in 2006. The high stakes battle for the 2015 championship crown will see World No1 Scott Brash (GBR) defending his 28-point lead over nearest rival Luciana Diniz (POR).

Friday evening will see a stunning sound and visual show with performances by Amira and a dramatic choreographed opening ceremony featuring a 30-strong choir, orchestra, dancers and special animations. Families will have fantastic views of the thrilling show from the new grandstands and there will be entertainment in the smart new Place de Concours after the team competition.

On Saturday the best riders and horses in the world take centre stage once more in for the €300,000 Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix. Throughout the event from 13th - 16th August there will be competitions featuring the highest ranked riders in the world during each of the four days, competitions for the amateur stars of the future and for riders with young horses in a feast of equestrian sport.

Book now to reserve your seats at this special Longines Global Champions Tour event. Ticket options are available by clicking here.

Record 28 out of Top 30 riders in Valkenswaard for Grand Prix and Team Competition

A record 28 out of the world’s top 30 riders will next week compete at the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix, with a special team competition at the new Tops International Arena in Valkenswaard.

And it was revealed today that 5* rider Athina Onassis de Miranda will be one of the team owners in the new Global Champions League, which will launch in 2016.

Speaking about the new Global Champions League team competitions being launched in 2016 Jan Tops, President of Longines Global Champions Tour, said: “What we are creating for next year is the new League and team competition and this will bring a new dimension and we are very proud we can announce that. Also for the event here next week the top riders in the world are here, not many championships or shows are like that. I am very pleased and honoured they are taking part.”

Joining him at the press conference were a star-studded line up of top riders: Ludger Beerbaum (GER), Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT), Athina Onassis de Miranda (GRE), Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Maikel van der Vleuten (NED).

Athina said: “I think it is a fantastic new development for our sport and I am very excited to be able to participate in one of the teams. I will be a team owner myself.”

Speaking about the new Global Champions League during today’s press conference in Valkenswaard, show jumping legend Ludger Beerbaum (GER) said: “I am really looking forward to the new format of the team competition.”

Ludger will join a world class line up of riders in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, from 13th - 16th August and will compete in the special 1.55m team competition on Friday evening. Speaking about the new venue he said: “I am really, really impressed.” And on the team competition next week he said: “I confirmed. The light is green and I'm looking forward to it.”

Four days of international competition will see the best riders and horses taking part in the €200,000 team competition on Friday evening and the €300,000 Grand Prix on Saturday. In a feast of top-level show jumping, to mark the 10th anniversary of the Tour, the 1.55m team competition will precede the 1.60m Grand Prix and another world class 1.55m class on Sunday.

A dazzling opening ceremony will herald the start of the team competition on Friday evening, which will be two rounds featuring 15 teams consisting of two riders.

Media were today given a tour of the unique new venue, which includes impressive new architectural structures for the grandstands holding around 3,000 spectators. A state-of-the-art wood and glass triple tier Royal Box and VIP Hospitality Lounge will be unveiled to international guests at the event. The development also includes 512 ultra modern stables with rows named after famous show jumpers including Top Gun, Jan Tops’ Olympic gold medal hampion horse.

Double Longines Global Champions Tour champion Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) said: "There's been a lot of work to put this whole thing together, and as Jan said it was a dream to come to this point. I know he's been talking about this for many many years. It's very exciting, the place is absolutely amazing and it adds a special addition to the Tour. The sport has developed so much over the years, thanks to the Global Champions Tour with a lot of changes, and especially with the team event and the trial next week it's going to be very exciting."

Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) also commented on the new facilities; "I'm very lucky to be here, first of all to be riding with Jan and, of course, to be riding here in these facilities. I remember he told me my goal was to be in the Top 50 and I’m now in the Top 30. The venue has always been a good place, and a great show, but for Jan he always wants more!" 

Jessica Springsteen (USA) said: "The facility is amazing. It's been incredible to train here, there's nowhere else like it and we're receiving the best care. I'm really looking forward to next summer, I think we're about to see show jumping really evolve and it's a really incredible time to be involved in the sport, so I'm excited."

Leading Dutch rider Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) said of the new venue in his home country: "We can be very proud that Jan has created such a venue as this. I've been riding here at this show for now over 15 years I believe, but this facility makes it for us as a rider just unbelievable - for sure everyone already liked coming here to Valkenswaard, and enjoy bringing their best horses here for the best sport. But now it will be fantastic." 

Throughout the event there will be competitions featuring the highest ranked riders and competitions for the amateur stars of the future and for riders with young horses in a spectacular celebration of equestrian sport. The new venue also features a Place de Concours where families can gather for refreshments and also enjoy the shopping village at the venue.

Tickets for the event are available by clicking this link.