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Promoting sport in China needs reforms

By Shanghai Daily 08 May 2015

Shanghai official said that international events like Global Champions Tour can help to promote the sport of equestrian in the country.

The three-day 2015 Longines Champions Tour will be staged outside the China Art Museum in Pudong, starting on May 8th. The fourth leg of the 2015 tour features world's top riders including Daniel Deusser, Scott Brash, Ludger Beerbaum and Kent Farrington.

The five-star show jumping event is being held for the second straight year in Shanghai after making its mainland debut last year.

"We are glad to see the competition has been received well and attracted spectators from out of Shanghai as well," said Sun Weiming, deputy director of Shanghai Sports Bureau. "Because of the tour, some local equestrian competitions like the China Tour and the club championships are receiving increased public attention.

"The sports bureau has also benefitted by participating in such a world class event, namely experience in handling quarantine issues. We are now in touch with the animal husbandry department that will go a long way to develop the sport in the future," Sun added.

Tian Hua, deputy director of China Sports Bureau's Equestrian Department, said reforms were the key to develop the sport.

"Due to entry and exit quarantine issues, Chinese horses and riders don't get much chance on the international stage. A new policy would help the sport while foreign and private investments should be welcomed," Tian said.

"A number of famous brands of horse related products are made in China. However, China hardly has its own well-known brand in this aspect," Tian added. "We hope the introduction of such competitions can enhance horse trading between China and Europe."

The equestrian event during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was held in Hong Kong due to quarantine issues.

Shanghai, which is not a member of the International Equestrian Federation, had to reach an agreement with the European Union's agriculture committee last year to declare the city a temporary non-epidemic area during the event.

Without the agreement, the horses wouldn't have been allowed to return to Europe.

LGCT President Jan Tops said he was pleased by the organization of the last year's event. "I'm happy to see that this year's avenue involved more equestrian culture elements." The Dutchman hopes LGCT will have a long-term cooperation with local organizers, and expressed his wish to have some Chinese riders involved in the event in the future.

The 3-day event has over US$1.38 million in prize money with the main attraction being the LGCT Grand Prix tomorrow.

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