Greek riders were in flying form at the FEI Balkan Jumping Championships 2011 staged in Zagreb, Croatia last weekend where they claimed eight of the 10 titles on offer. Gold in the Ladies Individual and Team events were the only medals to escape their grasp as they ran riot through the remainder of the show programme, producing convincing wins at all levels.
Staged at the Karoca Horse Club in the Croatian capital city, the event attracted competitors from six nations - Serbia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Greece. President of the Ground Jury was Russia's Vladimir Platov and the remainder of the Ground Jury panel were Mrs Mimi Kyrkinis from Greece, Turkey's Mrs Gulfer Taneri, Bulgaria's Mr Yuri Valev and Mrs Jasminka Pirs Petrakovic from Croatia.
In the Senior Team Championships, the Greeks clinched gold with a total of 22 faults which give them a significant 14-fault advantage over the silver medallists from Slovenia. The Croatians took bronze, but with 55 faults on the board were a long way further adrift and 10 points clear of the Bulgarians who just missed out on the medals here.
Course designer, Olaf Petersen Jr., set a 1.30m track for the opening competition in which Alexandros Fourlis and his 12 year old bay mare GZS Cappucino Z, by Calvaro Z, raced home quickest in a time of 61.39 seconds. From a start-list of 22 runners, it was Croatia's Denis Gugic (Davita) and Filip Rozmaric (Cezar BB) who slotted into the next two places while Hanna Roberson-Mytilinaiou (Natacha Delaunay) from Greece was close behind in fourth spot.
Slovenia's Luka Zaloznik and his eight year old stallion Coristar scooped the honours in the second leg, but Fourlis's runner-up finish, and a nine-fault effort on the last day, was good enough to clinch the Individual Senior title ahead of Roberson-Mytilinaiou, leaving Zaloznik in bronze medal position.
Young Riders and Juniors
Mirjam Vesenjak from Slovenia steered Unique to top the first Young Rider qualifier in which Christina Dimitrakopoulou and Paco Rabanne Schepershof from Greece slotted into second ahead of Slovenia's Jan Behar and Lando 3 in third. But it Aggelos Touloupis and his 16 year old Accord mare Aischa D who took gold for Greece when his sixth-placed opening effort was added to victory in the second qualifier and second place in the three-way jump-off on the final afternoon. It was a double for Greece on the medal podium as Dimitrakopoulou claimed silver while Serbia's Irena Ilic (Gijom) took bronze, and the Greeks again claimed centre-stage in the Young Rider Team Championship with their 17-fault total giving them a decisive winning margin over the silver medallists from Croatia and bronze medallists from Slovenia.
In the Junior Championship, Stefanos Papageorgiou and Damina Z won the first competition ahead of Bulgaria's Vladimir Simeonov (Emissar). But it was Filippos Apostolos Papageorgiou and Vahorn, third first-time out, and winners of the second qualifier, who left the Individual result beyond doubt when foot-perfect once again on the final day when the result was decided in another three-way jump-off. This summer, Filippos and his nine year old bay stallion showed their potential when finishing third in the Farewell competition at the FEI European Junior Jumping Championships 2011 at Comporta, Portugal in July. They stood ahead of Elena-Katerina Imirziadi (Red Pringle) from Greece on the medal podium last weekend, while Bulgaria's Ivan Kisiov (Cassius Van Cayzele) claimed the bronze.
Greece took the Junior team title ahead of Romania while Bulgarian riders earned the bronze medals here.
Children and Amazons
Sheer consistency earned the Children's Individual title for Ioli Mytilinaiou from Greece who finished 13th with her bay stallion Ascot in the first competition but improved to sixth next time out and then produced the fastest clear on the final day. It was Bulgaria's Zhelyazko Dimitrov (Nepala) who topped the first class ahead of Romania's Teodora Ioana Rus (Luptator) in second and Slovenia's Dasa Smlatic (All Tiger) in third. And Smlatic returned to win the second leg, putting in a strong bid for the overall honours. But two fences down on the final day put paid to that, and it was Maria-Eleni Varibobioti (Nola de Cosniere) from Greece who took the silver ahead of Serbia's Mila Dragic (Virkiness) in bronze.
A zero score ensured the Team medals for the Greek Children, but the Romanians were close behind when finishing with just eight on the board while Slovenia slotted into bronze medal spot with 18.
Croatia's Janka Krasovec (Limited Edition) won the opening class in the Ladies Championship ahead of Elina Kyriakou (Nilda Rouge) from Greece in second and Slovenia's Lidja Grum (Leona) in third. And it was a Croatian one-two-three in the final Individual line-up when Kristina Grilec and her seven year old stallion Cayenne, winners of the second qualifier, took the gold ahead of Mirna Bacic (Sante Fe) in silver medal spot and Krasovec in bronze. The host nation had at last broken the Greek grip on the gold medals, and took the Amazons, or Ladies, team title ahead of Greece with Serbia finishing third.
There was an additional Young Horse championship in which Bulgaria's Ivan Kisiov steered the eight year old gelding Kardam, by Kanetso, to victory ahead of the seven year old Paddy's Dream Z ridden by Senior Champion Alexandros Fourlis from Greece, while Serbia's Katarina Ilic and the seven year old mare Esprit de Vie slotted into third.
Seniors : GOLD - Greece 22 faults; SILVER - Slovenia 36 faults; BRONZE - Croatia 55 faults.
Juniors: GOLD - Greece 13 faults; SILVER - Roumania 29 faults; BRONZE - Bulgaria 34 faults.
Children: GOLD - Greece 0 faults; SILVER - Roumania 8 faults; BRONZE - Slovenia 18 faults.
Young Riders: GOLD - Greece 17 faults; SILVER - Croatia 33 faults; BRONZE - Slovenia 37 faults.
Amazons (Ladies)s: GOLD - Croatia 47 faults; SILVER - Greece 52 faults; BRONZE - Serbia 74 faults.
Seniors: GOLD - GZS Cappucino Z (Alexandros Fourlis) GRE 9; SILVER - Natacha Delaunay (Hannah Roberson-Mytilinaiou) GRE 14.44; BRONZE - Coristar (Luka Zaloznik) SLO 19.82.
Young Riders: GOLD - Aischa D (Aggelos Touloupis) GRE 7.31; SILVER - Paco Rabanne Schepershof (Christina Dimitrakopoulou) GRE 19.19; BRONZE - Gijom (Irena Ilic) SRB 22.59.
Juniors: GOLD - Vahorn (Filippos Apostolos Papageorgiou) GRE 1; SILVER - Red Pringle (Elena-Katerina Imirziadi) GRE 7, BRONZE - Cassius Van Cayzele (Ivan Kisiov) BUL 12.
Children: GOLD - Ascot (Ioli Mytilinaiou) GRE 00 34.89; SILVER - Nola de Cosniere (Maria-Eleni Varibobioti) GRE 00 37.27; BRONZE - Virkiness (Mila Dragic) SRB 4/0 36.67.
Amazons (Ladies): GOLD - Cayenne (Kristina Grilec) CRO 11; SILVER - Sante Fe (Mirna Bacic) CRO 16; BRONZE - Limited Edition (Janka Krasovec) CRO 16.
Full Results at http://feibsc2011.belsoft.biz/
Photo Caption: Croatia's Kristina Grilec, Mirna Bacic and Janka Krasovec - gold, silver and bronze medallists in the Amazons (Ladies) Individual Championship at the FEI Balkan Jumping Championships 2011 in Zagreb (CRO) last weekend. Photo: FEI/BalkanJChPress.