The host nation took the early lead in the Vaulting Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky, USA today where Germany's Gero Meyer headed up the Male Individual and Great Britain's Joanne Eccles topped the Female Individual competition.
Today's tests were all based around the seven compulsory movements and the US team horse, Palatine, with lunger Carolyn Bland at the end of the line, helped the Americans to rack up a winning score of 7,207. Germany lies second after the first day, with Austria in third ahead of Switzerland, France, Slovakia and Brazil.
The British team had to settle for eighth place, with Australia in ninth, while South Africa rounded up the top 10 nations. A total of 20 countries are represented by teams in the FEI World Vaulting Championship.
Defending World Champion, Kai Vorberg from Germany, posted a second-place spot in the Male Individual contest when fellow-countryman Gero Meyer came out on top. Meyer scored 8,401 against Vorberg's 8,297 while Switzerland's Patric Looser slotted into third.
"I'm absolutely satisfied, especially with the second part of the compulsories - the scissors, stand and flank", said Meyer afterwards. "The first part I had a little more trouble", he explained. "It was more difficult because my horse was very energetic. He was doing his job very well, but it was a bit hard for me to sit on the horse while I'm doing the mills, for example. I lost balance for a fraction of a second, and I had to correct myself. But all in all I'm very satisfied."
He pointed out that this World Championship is a particularly special one for him. "2010 will be my last (World Championship) and is an event I've worked for for not only one year. I really wanted to be here and I got here, so I'm very happy", he added.
Vorberg was also happy with his performance. "I made everything sure and brought it home this round. There were some really good moves which I could do better. You never know what happens, and you never know what you will get, so I'm satisfied. Scissors were quite good, the stand and flank not as good as I can do, but it could be worse!".
Joanne Eccles, who claimed the Individual title at the 2009 European Championships, is one of the favourites to take Female Individual gold. As usual she shared her horse, W H Bentley, with her sister Hannah, and to round up the family affair their father, John, is their lunger. Hannah had to settle for 16th place, but Joanne's score of 8,157 wasn't beaten all afternoon and she goes into tomorrow's competition ahead of Germany's Simone Wiegele in second and America's Megan Benjamin in third.
An elated Joanne said; “It went really well – that was my best mount yet! I got good jump from the surface and there’s nothing in the routine which I’m instantly disappointed with. I’ve been practicing the compulsory moves as it’s my weakest area and built up to this so I’m really pleased. I know there’s pressure on me to do well but I know what I can do, I just have to go out there and do it!” she pointed out.
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
Facts and Figures:
Three Vaulting Competitions took place today - the Team Compulsory Test, and the Round 1 Male and Female Individual Compulsory Tests.
20 nations competed in the team competition
33 competitors lined out in the Female Individual Test
14 competitors lined out in the Male Individual Test
Stefen Csandl, AUT - 4th in Male Individual today "We have trained the last four years especially for Kentucky because it was our big wish and our big dream to come here and compete together as a team. We have our horse for two years and it was great that he was calm as he could be. It was perfect. He's very young for the sport, he's only been vaulting for two years. If all the rounds go like this it's perfect - I couldn't wish for more."
Kai Vorberg, GER - 2nd today in Male Individual - "It would be a big dream come true if I could make it again (win the World Championship title), but sport is always what happens in the competition, and not what people talk about before or after. This is why I'm really glad to be here - I hope that I can show my very best in the three rounds I have left."
ALLTECH FEI WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES™- VAULTING CHAMPIONSHIP
Team Compulsory Test: 1, USA 7,207; 2, Germany 6,996; 3, Austria 6,990; 4, Switzerland 6,880; 5, France 6,594; 6, Slovakia 6,532; 7, Brazil 6,114; 8, Great Britain 5,909; 9, Australia 5,838; 10, South Africa 5,324.
Female Individual Compulsory Test: 1, Joanne Eccles GBR 8,157; 2, Simone Wiegele GER 8,037; 3, Megan Benjamin USA 7,856.
Male Individual Compulsory Test: 1, Gero Meyer GER 8,401; 2, Kai Vorberg GER 8,297; 3, Patric Looser SUI 8,253.
Full results and startlists at www.alltechfeigames.com
Photo Caption: Germany's Gero Meyer won the Male Individual Compulsory Test as the Vaulting Championships got underway today at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky, USA. Photo: FEI/Dirk Caremans.