London O2 Arena among bidders for 2017 FEI World Cup

Theresa McCaffrey

London O2 Arena among bidders for 2017 FEI World Cup

Equestrian's grandest prize could take place in London's O2 Arena after the venue submitted a bid to host the 2017 FEI World Cup.

The showjumping event has never taken place in the UK before but bidders are confident that the 2012 Olympic Games could sway organisers to bring the showcase finals to the English capital. Greenwich Park played host to the dressage and showjumping events during the Games and the O2 Arena has been highlighted as the perfect venue to host the 2017 FEI World Cup.

However, London faces competition from the likes of Hong Kong, the US city of Omaha, Nebraska, and s'Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands. The latter hosted the 2012 event which saw US rider Rich Fellers take the top prize beating the Swiss duo of Steve Guerdatand Pius Schwizer who finished second and third respectively.

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has so far only put in an "expression of interest" and needs the backing of AEG, the owner of the O2 Arena. Should this be granted then it will need to be accepted by the FEI which will provide cost details and viability of a formal bid. However, should it go through it would mark a major milestone for British equestrian of being able to attract one of the biggest events of the calendar to its shores.

Rebecca Kane, general manager at the O2, said: “The prospect of the O2 hosting a sporting event, such as the jumping and dressage World Cup finals in 2017, would be fantastic for us and London.

"The success we enjoyed in hosting both Olympic and Paralympic events here in 2012 showcased the diversity of the O2 as a world class music and sport venue.”

The O2 Arena was renamed the North Greenwich Arena during the 2012 Games and hosted the basketball final, gymnastics and wheelchair basketball during the 2012 Paralympic Games.