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CHINA has been announced as one of four new destinations for showjumping’s Global Champions Tour (GCT) in 2012.

With enthusiasm for the sport growing in the Far East, Shanghai has been chosen to host the GCT grand prix in October.

Wiesbaden (Germany), Lausanne (Switzerland) and Vienna (Austria) are other new venues for the 13-leg series.

GCT president and Olympic gold medallist Jan Tops said: “We are very pleased with this progress for the GCT to spread further in a global context and confidently look ahead to 2012.”

Next year’s GCT kicks off in Doha, Qatar, on 5-7 April and culminates with the final in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in November.

The GCT is an annual competition, founded in 2006 by Mr Tops, who continues to run the series. It brings together the top 40 riders in the Rolex rankings, who compete in a series of shows that aim to provide “the best in showjumping”.

Since 2007 all GCT events have been held as CSI 5*. This means that under FEI rules they are championship level events. The GCT classes are run under FEI rules but they have no part in the organisation of the series, aside from ratifing the schedule.