EEM Asia, a branch of EEM World, organizer and creator of the Longines Hong Kong Masters announced the inaugural competition on February 28 – March 2 is set to establish Hong Kong as Asia’s equestrian capital as 25 of the world’s top-ranked riders will compete for the highest honors and a total prize money of USD 1 million (approx. HKD 7.8 million). Recognized as an ‘M’ Mark event by the Major Sports Events Committee, the Longines Hong Kong Masters is Asia’s first and only CSI 5* indoor show jumping event. The Top 25 best international riders and horses will be competing at AsiaWorld-Expo including the current world number one Christian Ahlmann from Germany, London Olympic Gold medalist Ben Maher from the UK, the world’s number one female rider Edwina Tops Alexander from Australia and former European Champion Kevin Staut from France. Two of Hong Kong’s top riders, Kenneth Cheng and Raena Leung, will represent their home ground and measure up their talent to the best international riders in front of their home crowd.
The competition will take place over three days with a total of 6 different classes on the program. The organizers expect up to 25,000 visitors of which 2,000 VIPs from around the world. “The inaugural Longines Hong Kong Masters will be the first round of the Masters Grand Slam Indoor in 2013 to be followed by New York and Paris. It is the first 5* show jumping competition in Asia since the 2008 Olympics and is set to establish Hong Kong as Asia’s equestrian capital” said Mr. Matthieu Gheysen, Vice President of EEM Asia. “The Longines Hong Kong Masters is more than just a sports competition, it is Asia’s first sports-meet-social event that combines sporting action, glamorous entertainment and luxury lifestyle brands. We are thankful to be partnering with Longines to bring such a spectacular event to Hong Kong. I am confident that the Longines Hong Kong Masters will soon become the meeting points for Asia and Europe’s VIPs looking for an exciting and glamorous world class event,” Gheysen added.
Mr. Walter Von Kanel, President of Longines, added, “Longines’ passion for equestrian sport dates back to 1878, when we produced a chronograph engraved with a jockey and his mount. We are thrilled to be the title sponsor and official timekeeper of the Longines Hong Kong Masters. Longines shares a long standing passion with horses and the values of elegance, strength, technique and speed that equestrian sports represent”. Longines Ambassador of elegance Aaron Kwok said: “It is exciting to expand my knowledge about horses from racing to show jumping. I find fascinating the high level of technique and perfect understanding and trust show jumping requires between the rider and the horse. I am very happy to be able to help develop this elegant sports and diversifying Hong Kong’s horse culture.”
The 27,000 square meter venue at AsiaWorld-Expo will be transformed into three areas: a 8,000 square meter stables area which will accommodate 80 horses, a 10,000 square meter paddock area and prestige village, and a 9,000 square meter competition ring. Apart from witnessing the exhilarating competition among the world's top riders, the public can also learn more about horses, show jumping and other lifestyle aspects. Various events including Riders' Meet and Greet, educational programme about show jumping and wine tasting will be organized at the venue.