Team Europe has won the coveted team gold at the Youth Olympic Games after a nail biting jump-off between three teams in a day of unsurpassed excitement in the jumping arena.
Three teams - Europe, Australasia and Africa – were all on four penalties going into today’s second round and it proved to be a battle to the end for these continents.
It looked as though Europe would clinch gold when their last rider, Nicola Philippaerts (BEL), cleared fence after fence with Gippsland Girl in what was looking like another wonderful clear for Europe. But a rail down at the last fence left Europe, Australasia and Africa tied on eight penalties, forcing a jump-off against the clock over a shortened course to determine the medal placings.
Both Europe and Australasia picked up four faults in the crowd-pleasing jump-off, but Europe’s faster overall time earned the gold, Australasia got silver and Africa bronze, to the huge delight of the riders and their supporters. After the historic presentation of medals for the first ever Youth Olympic Games equestrian competition, the riders galloped joyously around the ring on their lap of honour, elation at winning an Olympic medal evident on every smiling young face.
There were once again some very smooth clear rounds, including those by Martin Fuchs (SUI) who went clear in both rounds of the competition and in the jump-off, where he upped the pace slightly and rode a very tight round on Midnight Mist, for the fastest time.
There was marked improvement between Wednesday’s first round and today’s performances, with an increased number of clear rounds. Faultless rounds came from Carian Scudamore (GBR), Guilherme Foroni (BRA), Timur Patarov (KAZ), Jake Lambert (NZL), Caroline Chew (SIN), Mario Gamboa (COL), Dominique Shone (CAN), Sheikh Ali Abdulla M Alqassimi (UAE), Thomas Mc Dermott (AUS) and Samantha McIntosh (RSA). Jasmine Lai (HKG), Wojciech Dahlke (POL) and Xu Zhengyang (CHN), who had not previously gone clear, raised their game against the clock to contribute to their teams’ overall score with a clear.
Caroline Chew (SIN) was once again the local hero and after her harmonious clear round on Gatineau, the crowd were in ecstasy. But it wasn’t just those who delivered foot-perfect round that earned the appreciation of the spectators. The crowd supported all the riders and the air was abuzz with excitement as each competitor entered the arena. Clear rounds were greeted with enthusiastic cheering and even those who weren’t so lucky were applauded enthusiastically as they left the arena.
FEI President, Her Royal Highness Princess Haya: “I think it’s absolutely fantastic for our Federation that one of our equestrian athletes, Caroline Chew, gave the oath at the Opening Ceremony of these historic Games. The level of competition here has been incredibly good and it seems there is a high percentage of second generation equestrian athletes here, compared to other sports. We’ve seen a wonderful competition and I am really looking forward to our future with the Youth Olympic Games. This is a great moment in equestrian history!”
FEI Director of Jumping, John Roche: “It’s a pleasure to watch young athletes from so many different countries working together and revelling in each other’s successes. The Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect are alive and well at the equestrian venue!”
Team Europe Chef d’Equipe, Corinne Bracken (GBR): “It’s just so exciting! The team are fantastic. They worked together really well out there and knew exactly what they had to do. I wouldn’t change one thing!”
European Team member, Martin Fuchs (SUI): “I am very excited and happy about our team winning. I like this horse, she’s very careful and I am looking forward to the individual event.”
Teams Jumping Competition – final standings – 1, Europe; 2, Australasia; 3, Africa; 4, Asia; 5, South America; 6, North & Central America & Caribbean Islands.
Photo Captions: Team Europe celebrates winning gold in the Youth Olympic Games Team Jumping - back row (L-R): Nicola Philippaerts (BEL), Martin Fuchs (SUI) and Wojciech Dahlke (POL) and front row (L-R): Carian Scudamore (GBR) and Valentina Isoardi (ITA). (Photo: IOC)
Pei Jia Caroline Chew competes during the Jumping Team round 2 match of Equestrian at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (Photo:IOC/Liao Yujie)