Equestrian Jonathan Wentz (USA) Triumphs in Stiff Competition at 2012 London Paralympic Games
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
For the Individual Test at the London Paralympics, Wentz drew an early spot in the order just in front of Lee Pearson of Great Britain. As the horse and rider combination of Richter and Wentz executed each technical requirement the judge's scores began to increase. Although Wentz had a test that was respectable, moments of imperfection would earn him a score of 70.348%. Jonathan's position would first be moved by Lee Pearson and horse Gentleman with a 75.391%. Then Australian athlete Joann Formosa and Worldwide PB would perform a 75.826% knocking the nine-time Gold Medal athlete Lee Pearson from his podium. With only two horses to go Pepo Puch of Austria and horse Fine Feeling would push Wentz into fourth place.
"There's still way more to come," smiled Wentz. "During the Team Test we got hit for being too conservative but today we went too much the other way and hit too hard on the accelerator. We got way too wobbly in the trot-work and the walk-work. We finally scored the way we were hoping in other parts of the test but the trot work hurt us. I was happy with the turn on the haunches and my walk work since it was a place we improved upon within our test."
Although Wentz did not stand on the podium for the Individual Test it gave him that much more desire to be there next time. The question will remain as the 2012 London Paralympics comes to an end if we will see the handsome eighteen year-old at the World Equestrian Games in Rio, or if a retirement is in his future.
"I came here to win and I wanted gold," exclaimed Formosa. "This has been my goal my entire life. I love this sport, I love my horses, and when I am aboard my horse there is a feeling of freedom. I couldn't be happier to have won this medal and I couldn't have earned this without my support team, fundraising, family, friends, and fans."
Pearson genuinely noted, "I am really happy with earning Silver, believe me. It has been a tough competition and Joann rode beautifully. I am actually over the moon; It would have been amazing to win a gold but I am happy to place this medal up on the wall with my past medals."
Results Individual Championship Test - Grade Ib
1. Joann Formosa (AUS) and Worldwide PB 75.826%
2. Lee Pearson (GBR) and Gentleman 75.391%
3. Pepo Puch (AUT) and Fine Feeling 75.043%
4. Johnathan Wentz (USA) and Richter 70.348%
5. Katja Karjalainen (FIN) and Rosie 69.739%
Results Individual Championship Test - Grade Ia
1. Sophie Christiansen (GBR) and Janiero 6 82.750%
2. Helen Kearney (IRL) and Mister Cool 76.700%
3. Laurentia Tan (SIN) and Ruben James 2 73.650%
4. Rihards Snikus (LAT) and Chardonnay 70.400%
5. Liselotte Rosenhart (DEN) and Prior Lady's Rawage 70.000%
"We gave it our all but it could have been a lot better. There was some improvement from the Team Test and some things we didn't do as well," said Ponessa. "It's a learning process."
In the Grade II competition USA Team Captain and 2008 Paralympian Rebecca Hart was positive as always for the entire team despite her individual placing with Lord Ludger, owned by Jessica Ransehousen. "This was his first international on this scale," noted Hart. "It was not what I hoping for but it's good to get him out here and get the experience. Obviously we were hoping for a little bit more especially for the team but it was ok. There are definitely ups and downs to every event for each one of us. We have what we need we just need to do it."
Gold Medal winner of Grade II was Natasha Baker (GBR) and horse Cabral. Baker expressed her excitement, "This is the most incredible feeling in the world. Coming to my first Games here in Great Britain and to come home with a Gold Medal is brilliant; I get a postbox and stamp!"
She continued, "Since the age of 10 I said I would compete in the Paralympics and win a Gold Medal. Since my first games I never expected this in a million years but I couldn't have done this without my horse. He is a dream, I am so proud of him, I really am."
Results Individual Championship Test - Grade II
1. Natasha Baker (GBR) and Cabral 76.857%
2. Britta Napel (GER) and Aquilina 3 76.048%
3. Angelika Trabert (GER) and Ariva-Avanti 76.00%
4. Petra van de Sande (NED) and Valencia Z 74.476%
5. Eilish Byrne (IRL) and Youri 73.429%
Results Individual Championship Test - Grade III
1. Hannelore Brenner (GER) and Women of the World 73.467%
2. Deborah Criddle (GBR) and LJT Akilles 71.267%%
3. Annika Dalskov (DEN) and Aros a Fenris 71.233%
4. Susanne Sunesen (DEN) and Thys Que Faire 69.700%
5. Sanne Voets (NED) and Vedet PB 68.767%
Results Individual Championship Test - Grade IV
1. Michele George (BEL) and Rainman 77.065%
2. Sophie Wells (GBR) and Pinocchio 76.323%%
3. Frank Hosmar (NED) and Alphaville 73.097%
4. Ciska Vermeulen (BEL) and Whooney Tunes 71.613%
5. Line Jorgensen (DEN) and Di Caprio 70.258%%
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