The 12th leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour Championship was officially kicked off today, with a pre-event press conference hosted at the spectacular Circus Maximus in Italy’s capital city of Rome.
To mark the 6th edition of the Rome event, Longines Global Champions Tour and GCL Sports Director Marco Danese was joined by LGCT Rome Event Coordinator Eleonora di Giuseppe, Mrs Virginia Raggi Major of Rome, Mr Vito Cozzoli President of Sport e Salute, Mr Marco Di Paola President of Italian Equestrian Sports Federation, as well as championship leader Edwina Tops-Alexander and local star Alberto Zorzi.
Mrs Virginia Raggi Major of Rome started the press conference with: “I am really proud to have this prestigious sport, the Formula 1 of show jumping here in Rome. To watch riders and horses behind us is fantastic, it is historic and will become a very important event. We have agreed to continue the partnership here until 2025 and it has helped Rome become one of the cities where sport is very important and accessible for all with free access.”
Speaking to the local media, Danese gave an overview of what’s been a thrilling 2021 LGCT and GCL season so far, highlighting the excitement and importance of the upcoming finals in Šamorín, and the GC Prague Playoffs. He said: “I think this is top professionalism, we have the best riders in the world here in Rome and so many gold medals between them on the LGCT circuit, Europeans and Olympics. It has been a challenging year to make the 16 events happen but we can’t wait to have a large public back.”
Longines Global Champions Tour Founder and President Jan Tops explained: “It is great for us to be here in this historical place and fits perfectly on our Longines Global Champions Tour Circuit. It is our 6th edition and we love to come to Rome. I know all the riders and owners here and watching or on our livestream are very proud.”
Mr Marco Di Paola, President of the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation went on to say: “What is important is to have equestrians back in the city after the pandemic. We are very happy they are coming back to our city and Mr Tops we thank you. You are a genius to have invented this circuit and to have 2 weeks of wonderful sporting events held here is incredible. We are happy our Mayer likes sports and she gives us these fantastic moments.”
Mr Vito Cozzoli, President of Sport e Salute explained: “Longines Global Champions Tour is a great contribution to our city and the whole of our country. High-level sports can only work if the base is a good base so this is an occasion so everyone can come towards equestrians and the sport. It has a very important social and educational value.”
With the event free to the public, there will be something for all the family with a varied and exciting programme on offer. As well as top sport, a variety of artists will again be present this year to pay homage to the horse. Spectators will also be treated to entertainment from a variety of carousel performances all coming together for the special equestrian performance.
Event Co-ordinator Eleonora di Giuseppe showed her gratitude: “We are very grateful to the Longines Global Champions Tour for coming back to Rome and for having a double event on the circuit in this fantastic location is it very good for our country and for tourism.”
With the best of the best show jumpers in action this weekend, including 8 out of the top 10 in the LGCT Championship, fans will be treated to top sport.
Championship leader Edwina Tops-Alexander added: “It is a huge honour to ride here and it’s been on my bucket list to visit the Circus Maximus so it’s a privilege. We have so many amazing venues on the circuit but this is definitely something special.”
Local hero Alberto Zorzi also joined the press conference today, he spoke of the level of competition on the Championship: "I think this is a great moment for me and it is a hugely emotional moment for Italian riders and we hope to give it everything and make it special. The Championship race is tight but I hope to go up in the next few events.”
The event kicks off tomorrow 10th September, running until Sunday 12th September, with all the action streamed live via GCTV. Before the second week of dramatic action continues from 16 - 18 September.