Aachen (GER)-He is the reigning Olympic gold medallist, World Champion and now also Rolex European Champion, Jeroen Dubbeldam! Silver goes to the Belgian rider, Gregory Wathelet, the French show-jumper Simon Delestre wins bronze.
Dubbeldam didn't stretch his fist up to the sky. He didn't cheer spontaneously either. He was completely overwhelmed. "I simply can't believe it – after winning double gold at the World Championships last year, and now double European Championships gold. It is too good to be true. I am simply overjoyed!" After five difficult rounds in Aachen's Main Stadium, Dubbeldam's Dutch-bred gelding, Zenith, hadn't picked up a single obstacle fault. The father of three led the field after the first round of today's Final and he proved once again that he has nerves of steel. He jumped double clear over the demanding European Championships course that Frank Rothenberger had built. He was so calm that he even allowed himself to pick up one time fault in the final round, which still didn't endanger him winning the gold medal. "My thanks goes first of all to my horse," the visibly moved Dubbeldam explained after his victory "and the whole team standing behind me."
In the lap of honour the show-jumpers often like to put their foot down. Dubbeldam did it quite differently today. First of all in walk and then in a gentle canter, the 42-year-old enjoyed every second of the lap of honour for the medal winners.
The silver medal went to Gregory Wathelet and the 10-year-old Holsteiner Conrad de Hus – it is the 35-year-olds first Championship medal and the first individual medal for a Belgian show-jumper since 2007. Back then, Jos Lansink won silver for Belgium. "Over the last two months, I had the feeling that my horse was getting better and better," explained Wathelet, who rode for the Ukraine from 2005 to 2007. "But I didn't think I would win a medal. I just wanted to be as good as I could and my horse really fought for me."
He was 14th in the European Championships rankings before the final day of the FEI European Championships of the Show-Jumpers Aachen 2015, but after concentrating hard and jumping double clear he secured himself a place on the winners' rostrum: Simon Delestre. The 34-year-old already won team gold at the European Championships of the Young Riders in the year 2000, in the meantime he runs the family's own riding establishment near Metz in France.
There is only one title missing from the new European Champions' collection, team Olympic gold. Perhaps next year at the Olympic Games in Rio. 369,000 spectators watched, cheered and rejoiced the competitions of the FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 at the Soers. The European Champion Dubbeldam spoke on everyone's behalf, when he said: "I am looking forward to coming back next year."