March 5, 2006 – Wellington, Florida – A victory for American Olympian Norman Dello Joio officially opened the eagerly anticipated Global Champions Tour on Sunday, March 5, in Wellington, Florida.
The Global Champions Tour, sponsored by CN WorldWide, is an innovative new show jumping series that links together six of the most prestigious competitions in the world. The first of those six events was CSI5* Wellington, and 61 of the best known show jumping athletes in the world gathered to contest the 150,000 CN WorldWide Florida Open Grand Prix, Presented by Cosequin. As will be the case in all of the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix events, 18 riders advanced to the second round, creating the perfect package for television broadcast.
Included in the top 18 were four clear rounds, posted by Americans Norman Dello Joio and Kim Prince, Samantha McIntosh of Bulgaria, and Dutch rider Harry Smolders. In the second round, McIntosh, Dello Joio and Prince were again clear to force a jump-off. McIntosh led the charge riding Loxley, posting a clear in a time of 41.51 seconds. Dello Joio followed and, much to the delight of the large crowd, poured on the speed with his veteran partner Glasgow, and stopped the clock at 40.94 seconds. Prince was the final challenger with Couletto K. James, but when a rail fell early on course, she pulled up knowing that the best she could do would be third place.
The Global Champions Tour sees the top two riders in the Grand Prix automatically qualify for the next leg of the Tour, which will take place at CSI5* Cannes, FRA, from June 8-11. From there, the tour moves to Monte Carlo, MON, Estoril, POR, Valkenswaard, NED, and finally Lanaken, BEL, from September 15-17. The prize money at all six events totals 2.5 million Euros, with .6 million in cash bonuses awarded to the top eight finishers in the overall standings.
Of his intention to continue competing in the Global Champions Tour, Dello Joio simply said, "I have no plans at the moment other than getting through next week, but I think that the Global Champions Tour is a wonderful concept."
Second place finisher McIntosh was much more definite about her plans.
"It was a big undertaking to come from Europe, and I am glad that I was able to be successful," said McIntosh, who is based in Germany. "All the shows involved in the Global Champions Tour are top class shows that I would like to compete at anyway, so I will keep going on the Tour and hope to be successful."
Duarte Guedes, organizer of the CSI5* Estoril, was on hand to witness the Global Champions Tour kick off. "I am really impressed by the beautiful atmosphere of Wellington, I had heard a lot about it but never imagined that it would be so great. I am very proud that Estoril was chosen to be a part of this Tour, because it means we are considered to be among the top events of the world."
JustWorld International is the official charity of the Global Champions Tour, and fundraising activities held throughout the week were for the benefit of the not-for-profit organization dedicated to working in developing countries on behalf of underprivileged children.
For more information, please visit www.globalchampionstour.com.
|site by Halogen and SEO Mechanics|