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Shanghai's back in the saddle

With a stunning new venue, and 22,000 passionate fans, elite equestrian action returns after five-year hiatus

By LI YINGXUE | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-07 08:57
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Enthusiastic welcome

The brand-new Shanghai Juss International Equestrian Centre, located at the Expo Park in the Pudong New Area is China's first permanent professional equestrian venue.

As well as a nearly 5,000-seat, Olympic-spec main arena, the venue also includes amenities such as a live broadcasting center, a horse clinic alongside permanent stables, the International Horse Art Center and an International Equestrian Academy.

As he mentioned, this is Thomas' first time in Shanghai, and he was genuinely taken aback by the city and the impressive new venue.

"It's not a long time that China has been a host country, but it is growing really fast," he said.

"The stadium is amazing, I think it's one of the best in the world. All the riders that came from Europe or America, they all say it's just something they've never seen before," he said. "I think I will come back again next year."

He has also been impressed by the warmth of the audience, who provided an enthusiastic welcome to the competitors throughout the event.

"The stadium is big, but we could hear that the audience cheered every rider. When we had runs that were not so good, they still cheered for us."

However, when Chinese riders took to the arena, the volume went up a few more notches. Four Chinese riders competed, including Olympic rider Zhang Xingjia, world championship rider Wang Yunjing, and Zheng Wenjie, all of whom entered on a wild card and had prior experience in the competition.

24-year-old Pang Qinyu made his debut at the Shanghai event. He and his mount, Caprisco, placed 21st in the CSI5 international jumping competition in two phases, on May 3.

Pang was born in 2000 in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province. When the Global Champions Tour made its debut in Shanghai a decade ago, Pang began his journey with horse riding. He has since achieved many successes in national equestrian competitions. In 2021, he was selected for the national U21 obstacle team of the youth equestrian squad.

"I've been to venues in many countries, and I'm happy to compete at China's new permanent equestrian venue," Pang said.

Pang views the Shanghai event as the beginning of a new chapter in his career. "My aim is to compete in the Los Angeles Olympics and become one of Asia's top riders by 2028," he said.

In May and June, Pang plans to join competitions in Madrid, Spain, and Cannes and Paris in France. He said he also aims to earn points for the 2026 Nagoya Asian Games.

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