LANGLEY, Canada – Mexico and the United States won on Sunday their way into the final of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup to be held in October in Barcelona, Spain, after the last qualifying round to secure berths for the final ended in Langley, Canada.
Canada failed to make it to the final despite Tiffany Fosters clinching a win for the country in Sunday’s round which was the last qualifier in the division of North America, Central America and the Caribbean of the Nations Cup which also included Mexico, the US, Ireland and Israel.
Mexico secured 270 points, while the US got 250 and Canada 240.
Team Mexico arrived in Langley as the great favorite after winning in the previous two qualifying rounds, held in Wellington in Florida, US, and in the equestrian Club Coapexpan of Xalapa in Mexico.
Unable to make it to Barcelona, Team Canada now needs to put up a good result in the upcoming Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, in July, to be able to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.
The final of the Longines FEI Nations Cup in Barcelona and the Pan American Games in Lima are the only chances available to the continental teams to achieve the points that will allow them entry to the Olympic Games.
The Canadian team won Sunday’s competition held at the Thunderbird Park Show in Langley, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south-east of Vancouver, after finishing the two rounds with only 4 points.
Ireland, with eight points, came in second while the US won the bronze medal with 12 points.
Mexico and Israel closed the scoreboard with 18 and 40 points, respectively.
Chef d’equipe of Team Mexico, Stanny Van Paesschen, told EFE that he was “very satisfied with the two victories” that the Latin American team had achieved in the US and Mexico.
Van Paesschen admitted that the team he brought to Langley was not just to win the competition but also “to try out different riders, so our group is ready for the Pan American Games.”
“Now I have to decide who will go to the Pan American Games. I have already part of the team (decided) but there are still opportunities for other riders,” Van Paesschen said, adding that the announcement of the Lima team will be made in the next few days.
Regarding the team’s goal in the Pan American Games, Van Paesschen, said that he hoped to win medals.
“If things go in our favor a little, we should be able to win a medal. But for me this is not the most important thing. What matters is trying to qualify for the Olympic Games. But it’s not easy,” he said.
“The Canadian team is always strong. This year, Colombia has a very strong team. I don’t know much about Argentina but they were the surprise at the Pan American Games in Toronto four years ago where they were incredibly good. And then there is Brazil that is always good. It won’t be very easy,” he said.
Coach of Team Canada, Mark Laskin, spoke to EFE after the competition and said that the victory was “bittersweet” but was optimistic about the possibilities of Canada entering the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.
Laskin said that he believed that the Canadian team will be able to qualify for Tokyo at the Pan American Games in Lima and will send the best riders and horses in the country.
“I am always confident in our chances. But I certainly don’t underestimate our competition. I think the way it breaks down there are three spots available for four teams that I think are very legitimate contenders. And they are all very, very good,” said Laskin. “So we have to send our best and we have to be really on our game. But, as I said, I am not going to underestimate (others) but I am very confident.”
In the World Equestrian Games held in Tryon, North Carolina, in September 2018, six teams qualified for Tokyo: the United States, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Australia.
In total, 18 countries will compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games in the showjumping category.