Aachen (GER)- Dressed as a Shaolin monk, Jannis Drewell raced through Aachen's Deutsche Bank Stadium totally stunned and jumping for joy carrying a German flag. At his first ever Championships, the 24-year-old walked off with European Championships gold. Silver and bronze also went to German vaulters: to the brother Thomas and Viktor Brüsewitz.
"I had hoped to win three medals in the men's classification," explained the national coach, Ulla Ramge. "We knew that it was possible. But the fact that we actually pulled off this feat over the four rounds here in Aachen, is unbelievable."
The decision fell in the last second. Jannis Drewell entered the arena as the last to compete in the final European Championship competition of the men's classification, the Freestyle. After three out of the four competitions, he was lying in second place, just behind his colleague Thomas Brüsewitz. But his freestyle routine as a Shaolin monk ultimately decided the race. Drewell won the Freestyle on a score of 8.732 and thus overtook Thomas Brüsewitz in the overall rankins to claim the gold medal. The overwhelmed winner wasn't the only person to shed a tear, many of his fans as well as his mother and lunger Simone Drewell all had to wipe their eyes. "I am going to keep the sash on for ages," said the stunned Drewell. The fact that the Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, came to congratulate him personally in the Deutsche Bank Stadium, also deeply impressed the European Champion. "As the fourth men in the squad I always narrowly missed out at competing at Championships. I have been a sport soldier for the past year, so I can now train daily. I think that is why I have got better."
The three German vaulters dominated the days in Aachen alternately. Drewell kicked off the European Championships with the third best result in the compulsory test, came second in the technical test and won both Freestyles. Thomas Brüsewitz came twice three times and won the technical test, his brother Viktor vaulted to victory in the compulsory test, was fourth in the first Freestyle, and third in both the technical test and the second Freestyle.
"The whole competition was totally awesome – fantastic!" the silver medal winner, Thomas Brüsewitz, stressed. After winning two medals at Junior level, this was his first 'real' medal. "Being able to compete at the European Championships here in Aachen is absolutely incredible." And his brother, who secured bronze, Viktor Brüsewitz, explained: "I was very happy after the compulsory test, which was almost perfect. I even surprised myself." Things didn't run as smoothly in the Freestyle. "That's why I wanted to show everyone what I am capable of. So, I really gave it my best shot." Kai Vorberg, the discipline trainer of the German vaulters, is delighted with 'his' men and added: "This year we really did have five or six potential candidates for the European Championships. And it is common knowledge that the stronger the competition, the better one performs."
The vaulting sport has been at home in Aachen since the 2006 World Equestrian Games. A roof was built over the Deutsche Bank Stadium especially for the European Championships. Show Director Frank Kemperman smiled contentedly: "It was expensive to have a roof put over the stadium, but it was the right decision. We are completely sold out for the final day tomorrow."
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