Paardensport Vlaanderen

Topsport: Jumping Team Belgium klaar voor een nieuw Nations Cup seizoen (ENG)

18-01-2024 · FEI

Our series looks at the 10 nations that will be competing in the inaugural series...

With the inaugural season of the Longines League of Nations™ kicking off in February 2024, over the next few weeks we will take a closer look at the 10 nations that have qualified to compete be the first to hoist the new trophy at the Final in Barcelona. Today, we look at Belgium.

Previous winners of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona in 2022, Belgium promise to be an exhilarating and experienced addition to this competition where the best of the best will face off over four legs.

Belgium’s biggest names include the likes of Gregory Wathelet, Pieter Devos and Nicola Philippaerts.

The 2024 Longines League of Nations™ series marks a revolutionary chapter in international Jumping, ushering in innovation by augmenting the highly successful FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series.

As a participant in this pioneering event, Belgium embraces the challenge, showcasing adaptability and a relentless commitment to competitiveness in the ever-evolving world of equestrian sports, as emphasised by the Belgian Equestrian Federation's Silke Hamerlinck: “The prospect of the top 10 countries competing in four competitions [plus the Final] promises top-class sport, and we are honoured to be part of it as a country.”

Jumping enjoys a fervent following in Belgium, which was one of the original 8 nations that founded the FEI back in 1921. The nation's deep-rooted equestrian tradition and passion for the sport contribute to a talent pool that has excelled on the world stage.

Under Chef d’Equipe Peter Weinberg, national coach since 2017, the team will be selected and prepared for excellence as a nation rallies behind them.

Belgium's recent international successes solidify their reputation as a powerhouse in Jumping. From the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where they clinched the Team bronze medal, to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final win in 2022 that reaffirmed their dominance as three-time Nations Cup Final champions – a feat they will be looking to revive.

Here’s their 2022 win in Barcelona…

The Highest Level

We speak to Chef d’Equipe Peter Weinberg about what the series promises for them this year…

Belgium has a strong equestrian heritage; how do you see the Longines League of Nations™ as an opportunity to showcase Belgium's approach to horse sport, and cement your reputation?

Peter Weinberg: "The Longines League of Nations™ offers competition on the highest level, which offers us as qualifiers the chance to select and compete with our top team against the other best teams in the world at the top of the rankings.

“This provides a great opportunity to measure ourselves with them and push to produce top results not only in the League, but we plan to use this to tailor our training on our way to the Paris Olympic Games. Beyond that, we believe this exciting series is a good advertisement for not only Belgian Jumping, but the sport worldwide."

The Longines League of Nations™ is an elite platform for top athletes. How do you plan to leverage this opportunity to inspire and support the next generation of Belgian equestrian talent?

Peter Weinberg: "For not only every rider, but also every owner, to have a horse competing for your country in an FEI Nations Cup is the biggest goal that they are all aiming for. We have a clear pathway, starting with 3*, progressing to 4*, and - ultimately - to peak at the Longines League of Nations™ as the top level before international championships.

“High performance makes the pathway clearer to those embarking on it, and gives them achievable goals to aspire to. We also hope that by communicating about the Longines League of Nations™ as much as we can, through all possible channels, we can reach as broad an audience as possible."

Pursue Excellence

Can you share any advice or words of encouragement for young riders who aspire to represent their nation in international equestrian events like this one?

Peter Weinberg: "I don’t believe we need money or words to encourage our young Belgian riders to ride at national level - they are all very keen! There is a strong progressive route starting at 3*, by training slowly and thoroughly they will achieve competing at the highest level for their nation. The aim must remain in sight: to always represent, and represent well!"

As the Belgium Jumping Team gears up for the 2024 Longines League of Nations™ series, excitement permeates the air. Armed with a legacy of triumphs and the support of a nation, Team Belgium is poised to pursue excellence, and another win.

Be sure to catch all the action on FEI TV as the series kicks off in Abu Dhabi on February 11.