Day two of the Vaulting championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy saw Germany take the lead in the Squad by a margin of 0.47 marks ahead of Switzerland, while the first-day winners from Austria are now lying third. Freestyle scores for both teams and individuals are combined with Compulsory scores to create an average qualification score for the next round in each category.
Meanwhile Great Britain’s Joanne Eccles heads yesterday’s winner, Rikke Laumann from Denmark, in the Female Individual Freestyle while Frenchman Jacques Ferrari continues to dominate the Male Individual leaderboard, and the stage looks set for really hot competition throughout the remainder of the week.
The Zenith Arena again provided a superb backdrop to the creativity and talent of the world’s best vaulters today, and competitors and supporters from around the globe enjoyed a great day of sport.
The all-female Swiss team won this morning’s Freestyle with their grey horse Will be Good lunged by Monica Winkler-Bischofberger but the second-placed German squad maintained the overall lead with a total of 8.390. However some of the show-stealers finished much further down the line.
The South African squad produced an inspiring and emotional performance based on the principle of equality in both sport and life, and the voice of the late and much-loved South African statesman, Nelson Mandela, added an extra poignancy to their programme. Many spectators and officials were seen brushing tears from their eyes as an essay on tolerance and reconciliation was played out, and although the relatively inexperienced squad had to settle for ninth place, on a mark of 6.901 at the end of the day, they left a deep impression on all who saw them perform.
Further down the line there was drama of a different kind when 10-year-old Dorottya Gönczi took a long fall during a routine with the Hungarian squad that finished in 11th place. Undeterred however, and demonstrating the precise nature of the best athletes in every sport, the brave young lady just picked herself up, dusted herself off and then got back to work right away.
Jacques Ferrari has now scored back-to-back wins following Tuesday’s opening success in the Male Individual Compulsory. World champion, and fellow-Frenchman, Nicolas Andreani however has been right on his heels each time and today challenged strongly again.
World vice-champion Erik Oese moved into third. The 26-year-old pipped Andreani for the Male title at CHIO Aachen last summer and was runner-up behind the Frenchman at Ebreichsdorf. With his horse, Calvador, and his lunger Andreas Bassler, Oese lies 0.276 off the lead.
Meanwhile Lambert Leclezio from Mauritius has been attracting a lot of attention for his empathy with his horse, Timothy van de Wilhelminah, and for his natural athleticism. The vaulter who has arrived at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ Vaulting Championships through support from the FEI Solidarity programme has put in a lot of work to get here, including travelling all the way to Australia in order to compete at a level that would earn qualification for the Games.
Performing to “I dreamed a dream” from the musical “Les Miserables”, Great Britain’s Joanne Eccles won today’s Freestyle competition partnering her family’s horse WH Bentley who is lunged by he father, John.
Her score of 8.619 leaves here with a lead of just 0.075 ahead of yesterday’s winner, Denmark’s Rikke Laumann, who finished second today. Switzerland’s Simone Jaiser lined up fourth behind Italy’s Anna Cavallaro, but Jaiser goes into tomorrow’s competition in bronze medal spot ahead of Cavallaro when the two days of results are taken into account.
Laumann realised a dream when winning the FEI European Vaulting Championship Female Individual title at Magna Racino in Austria last year and won’t be easily pinned back this week. Her horse is Ghost Alfarvad Z and her lunger is Lasse Kristensen.
The top 15 Male and Female Individuals go through to tomorrow’s (Thursday) Technical test which begins at 14.00, and there is great anticipation ahead of the popular Pas-de-Deux which will take place later in the evening. The top 12 teams go forward to Friday’s final.
Squad Freestyle: 1, Germany 8.390; 2, Switzerland 8.357; 3, Austria 7.907; 4, France 7.804; 5, Sweden 7.527; 6, Italy 7.116; 7, New Zealand 6.923; 8, South Africa 6.901; 9, USA 6.850; 10, Canada 6,783.
Female Individual Freestyle: 1, Joanne Eccles GBR 8.619; 2, Rikke Laumann DEN 8.544; 3, Simone Jaiser SUI 8.439; 4, Anna Cavallaro ITA 8.435; 5, Corinna Knauf GER 8.236; 6, Kristina Boe 8.089; 7, Anne-Sophie Musset 8.049; 8, Mary McCormick USA 7.975; 9, Elizabeth Ioannou USA 7.959; 10, Jasmin Gipperich AUT 7.899.
Male Individual Freestyle: 1, Jacques Ferrari FRA 8.624; 2, Nicolas Andreani FRA 8.520; 3, Erik Oese GER 8.348; 4, Viktor Brusewitz GER 8.311; 5, Thomas Brusewitz GER 8.257; 6, Lukas Heppler SUI 8.022; 7, Lambert Leclezio MRI 7.950; 8. Vincent Haennel FRA 7.943; 9, Adam Lukac SVK 7.852; 10, Lukas Wacha AUT 7.690.
Full results and startlists at www.normandy2014.com