Ireland Earns its First European Team Gold in History
The European Jumping Championship took place last weekend in Arnhem (NED). Olympic Team Gold rider Ludger Beerbaum (GER) renewed his European title that Alexandra Ledermann took away from him two years ago in Hickstead (GBR).
Since the first day of the Championship, Beerbaum was only 0.07 penalties behind the leader Wout Jan van der Schans (NED). On Sunday 1 July his mare Gladdys S stayed clear in both rounds of the Individual Final, while the Dutch rider lost his concentration and was not able to repeat his clear first round. Finally van der Schans finished with 16 penalties, which made him drop from first to 9th place, to the despair of his home crowd. Ludo Philippaerts and Otterongo van de Kopshoeve (BEL) won the silver medal, followed by Swedish rider Rolf-Göran Bengtsson on Isovlas Pialotta. World Cup winner pair Markus Fuchs (SUI) and Tinka’s Boy had to settle for the 4th place.
Two days earlier, Ireland had won the European Team title for the first time in history. Actually, Irish last team medal at an European Championship – a bronze one – was as old as 1979 in Rotterdam. Although they were invincible in last year’s Samsung Nations Cup, the Irish riders did not really expect a gold medal. Jessica Kürten, Peter Charles, Kevin Babington and Dermott Lennon stayed fairly relaxed during the whole event and won the title with each rider contributing and a deciding clear round of Lennon as fourth rider in the second round.
Sweden, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands were in a race for a medal. With a very consistent performance, Sweden won the silver medal. It was the first time that Sweden won a team medal at a European Championship. Further to the fault made by Ludger Beerbaum, Olympic champion Jeroen Dubbeldam on De Sjiem had a chance to offer the bronze to the home team. Due to a fault at the water fence and a miscalculation of the approach of the next fence, he finished with 8 penalties and left the bronze to Germany.
Best Ever Television Coverage for an FEI Championship:
The European Jumping Championship in Arnhem was televised by more broadcasters then any other previous Europeans. Broadcasters from the following countries took up the event: the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Great Britain, Belgium, Unites States and Latin America.
Initial indications show that viewing figures were excellent with Germany reporting a market share of 11% on Friday (team final) and 10% on Sunday (individual final). This is a major improvement on the more usual figures of 7 to 8%.