The CSI3*-W- Designated Olympic Qualifier for Group C is a major stake as the winning team will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Many outstanding riders will compete for the first place. They all are capable of winning the Nations Cup or the Grand Prix as well. Let’s see who these riders are:
ROBERTO ARIOLDI (ITA)
Roberto Arioldi is a six-time Italian champion. On Rosa in 1987, on Paprika della Loggia between 1999 and 2001, on Dime de La Cour in 2002 and on Utile in 2010. He participated in 2004 at the Athen Olympics as the oldest participant of the Games and finished seventh with the Italian team (other members were Juan Carlos García, Bruno and Vincenzo Chimirri). In 2011 he won the Mediterranean Games in Spain both individually and with the team. He is a member of the Italian Jumping Commission and is still competing on the highest level.
He rode last time in Hungary in 2010, and finished fifth then in a World Cup ranking competition.
ULRICH KIRCHHOFF (UKR)
Ulrich Kirchhoff was born in Germany, and until 2013 represented Germany. Later, on Alexander Onyischenko’s invitation he joined the Ukrainian national team.
Kirchhoff took part in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics and won a gold medal on Jus De Pommes. In addition, he was a member of the gold team as well with Franke Sloothaak, Lars Nieberg and Ludger Beerbaum. This will be the first time he comes to Budapest as he aims to compete as a team member for Ukraine in Tokyo, too.
HELMUT MORBITZER (AUT)
He is one of the veteran riders who participated in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and finished twenty-fifth in the individual ranking. The next year he took seventh place at the European Championship. Morbitzer is well known not only as a rider, but as organizer of the Equestrian Festival in Linz and the Austrian National Championship.
He is regularly attending international show jumping tournaments in Budapest, including of the 2009, 2010 and 2017 World Cup competitions. As the oldest starter of the competition he is a valuable asset to the Austrian team due his versatile routine.
ALES OPATRNY (CZE)
Ales Opatrny grew up in an equestrian family and started his career in the family’s sport stable in Hořovice. At the beginning he competed in eventing competitions then switched to the show jumping. He was European Champion as a young rider, five-time Czech champion, several times won the „Rider of the Year” title and is a gold medalist in many international and World Cup competitions. He represented the Czech Republic at the World Championship in Aachen and finished in 19th place at the Las Vegas World Cup Final.
First it was his father, Václav, who managed his carrier and later with the support of the German legend, René Tebbel, he became an outstanding successful rider. His dream is to take part in the Olympics. He has now great chances to achieve this goal as he finished several times on the podium at last year’s CSIO and competed successfully in the Nation Cups in Budapest.
ROSSEN RAITCHEV (BUL)
He represented Bulgaria at two Olympics, in 2000 in Sydney and in 2004 in Athens, at three World Championships, and two European Championships. He competed several times in Hungary, and in 2008 took fourth place in the Grand Prix of the Budapest CSIO.
He is currently the coach of Bulgarian Young Riders’ team and meanwhile still competes at the highest level.
RENÉ TEBBEL (UKR)
Tebbel was a very successful rider even at an early age as he won bronze medal at the European Junior Championship in 1986, and two years later finished on the silver podium as a young rider. He was only 21 when he qualified for the World Cup final and for the World Championships where he won gold with the team. In these years he rode in Paul Schockemöhle’s stables, then in 1995 started his own business. He continued to be very successful and won the German Master, the London Grand Prix, the Spruce Meadows Grand Prix, and took third place in the World Cup final in Gothenburg. In 2007 he set a record becoming the first rider to win the German Championship for three consecutive years.
From September 2013, he became the Ukrainian national team’s coach as well. He converted to Ukraine nationality, and since then he has represented the Ukraine at two Olympic Games and two European Championships.
This year he finished third in the Grand Prix at the István Széchenyi Memorial behind the Hungarian Zoltán Czékus.
On the photos: Rene Tebbel & Zipper at the Rio Olympics – Photo: Hippo Foto – Dirk Caremans; Richard Juilliart