Great Britain's Joanne Eccles and Switzerland's Patric Looser claimed the Female and Male Individual titles in the Vaulting Championship at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky, USA today. Eccles earned the second-highest score in today's Freestyle with her 'Candle in the Wind' routine and this clinched the overall Female gold, having led after yesterday's Technical test.
Frenchman Nicolas Andreani won today's Male Freestyle, but Looser's spaceman routine kept him in top spot in the Male contest, while 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games champion Kai Vorberg from Germany had to settle for silver this time around ahead of Andreani in bronze. Looser was overwhelmed by his victory, "I can't tell you how I feel" he said during the emotionally-charged post competition press conference. "Kai is my training partner and he has made me into what I am - I just tried to relax and to be clear in my Freestyle today, I can hardly believe this, it feels strange" he added.
Wind of Change
Kai Vorberg recognised the significance of today's victory for his pupil Patric Looser. "Until today I won 12 medals in a row since 2003 but the wind of change is coming, I'm an old man now and I won't be continuing forever" said the 29 year old from Cologne. Vorberg talked about his familiar "Wind of Change" routine which he said represented his feelings about the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the freedom that brought for many people in Germany. In Looser he has helped create another wind of change, one that has swept the master aside and which has put Looser in the limelight. "He's my friend, I'm his friend so I'm happy for him" Vorberg insisted.
Looser talked about his longeur, Alexandra Knauf. "We have a good relationship. It has to be fun all the time including when we are training - we are friends also in our free time" he pointed out.
Perfecting Her Routine
Eccles, who is studying dentistry at Glasgow University in Scotland, described the work that goes into perfecting her programme. "You have to practice a lot before taking the routine to the horse - get the position right and make sure it's safe and good for your horse. We practice on a barrel, and also do floor exercises" she explained. Her father, John, is her longeur and she said "we both have the same goals - he does his bit for me and I do my bit for him". She is the reigning European Champion, and her father has a passionate interest in the sport. After becoming a longeur he became a vaulting and gymnastics coach and eventually a vaulting judge, and he works closely with his daughter.
Eccles said today that she hopes that winning Great Britain's first-ever World Championship medal in vaulting will attract more young British people into the sport.
FEI TV - As well as live competition coverage throughout the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™, FEI TV will make all competitions available post-event via VoD, plus an exclusive daily 30-minute VoD highlights show from the Kentucky Horse Park featuring the best of the day’s action, interviews, previews and reviews. There will also be lots of behind the scenes footage available. Check out www.feitv.org
Patric Looser "I live in Cologne and train there so I'm not often in Switzerland".
Joanne Eccles "Inside the arena my relationship with my father is the relationship of longeur and coach - outside we are father and daughter"
ALLTECH FEI WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES™ - VAULTING CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL INDIVIDUAL RESULTS:
Female - 1 (Gold) Joanne Eccles GBR 8.413; 2 (Silver) Antje Hill GER 8.322; 3 (Bronze) Simone Wiegele GER 8.281.
Male - 1 (Gold) Patric Looser SUI 8.498; 2 (Silver) Kai Vorberg GER 8.463; 3 (Bronze) Nicolas Andreani) FRA 8.452.
Full results and startlists at www.alltechfeigames.com
Photo Caption: Great Britain's Joanne Eccles, pictured with her father John who is her longeur, took Individual Female gold in the Vaulting Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky, USA today. Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.
Audio Links: Patrick Looser (Ch) English http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/WEG_Looser_eng.mp3
Patrick Looser (Ch ) Swiss-German http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/WEG_Looser_CHDe.mp3
Joanne Eccles http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/WEG_Eccles_gold.mp3
Kai Vorberg (Ger) German http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/WEG_Vorburg_germman.mp3
Kai Vorberg (Ger) English http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/WEG_Vorberg_Vault.mp3