Wellington, FL-November 29, 2001- 12 year-old, Kelly Kovich of Westerville, OH captured the first qualifier of the FEI World Children's Jumping Finals today at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club. Kovich bested the field of 28 starters after she and The Energizer Bunny posted double clear rounds and the fastest jump off time of 35.70. Eight horse and rider combinations qualified for the jump-off round after completing the first round course of 12 numbered obstacles and 15 jumping efforts. Kovich finished 1/100th of a second faster than Azul Mektoubdjian of Argentina. Mektoubdjian took second place aboard Marco Bello after crossing the finish line in 35.71 seconds. Third place went to Gubarev Svetlana of Moscow, Russia and her mount Feature Link. They crossed the timers in 36.06 seconds.
The nations that are represented during the four days of competition are South Africa, Brazil, Belgium, Russia, Lithuania, Japan, Columbia, France, Mexico, Argentina, and Saudi Arabia. The United States has provided the horses for all competitors. Over 550 children ages 12-14 competed in 30 qualifiers world wide in order to have the honors of competing in this event. Among the US competitors, you will find two local Wellington children, Edwin Verdung and Dottie Grubb, daughter of Olympian Tim Grubb and Michele Grubb. Dottie's trainer for the competition will be 2000 Olympian, Lauren Hough of Wellington.
Showcasing this event and the competitors is imperative to the continued growth of the sport of show jumping, as these young riders are those that aspire to become their nations next Olympians. Each course, designed by Steve Stephens, will be 10-12 obstacles with fence height's up to 4' and with spreads up to 4'7".
Come watch Wed-Sun. at 2:00pm these 16 International leading children's jumper riders, ages 12-14 do battle with many of the top U.S. children's competitors. Free parking and entry to the public. For more information call: Stadium Jumping, Inc. at 561-793-5867.