A DOUBLE GOLD FOR BELGIUM AND ITALY AS NEXT GENERATION TAKES CENTRE STAGE by Louise Parkes
Lausanne (SUI), 11 JULY 2011 – Rising stars, and many with familiar names, shone brightly at the FEI European Jumping Championships for Children, Juniors and Young Riders 2011 staged in Comporta (POR) over the weekend. Nicola and Olivier Philippaerts, twin sons of long-time Belgian senior team rider Ludo Philippaerts, were members of the victorious Belgian Young Rider side, and 18 year Nicola also took the individual Young Rider title. Meanwhile Virginia Caruso confirmed the competitiveness of Italian jumping right now when helping to scoop Junior team gold before also taking the individual honours yesterday.
Ireland clinched the first gold medals on offer in Saturday’s Children’s Team decider. But it was Lisa Nooren, daughter of world-famous coach Henk Nooren who is currently managing the French senior team, who came out on top in the Children’s individual competition the result of which, like so many of the other classes at these championships, had to be decided by a jump-off. The quality of competition was extraordinary, with the top four riders producing flawless performances over five tough rounds, but Nooren and the 10 year old Dutch-bred Ubalia produced a superior turn of foot against the clock that left them with an advantage of more than 2.5 seconds over silver medallist Paul Delforge (Kaloubet d’Toureelle) from France, while Belgium’s Maxine de Pelsmaeker (Whippersnapper) claimed the bronze. Hungary’s Zoltan Lazar Jr (Afrodite) finished just outside the medal placings when second-quickest across the line, but with a single fence on the floor this time out.
Individual Children’s Champion Nooren said her victory was a family effort. “It is a great privilege to have a father like mine. He cannot often be at the competitions with me, so my mother coaches me, but at home the three of us work together as a group,” she explained.
The charming coastal area of Comporta, situated an hour south of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon and often described as an undiscovered paradise, provided the perfect backdrop to this event which, for only the second time, brought all three Championships together at the same venue. The FEI Children’s Championship was first introduced in Istanbul (TUR) in 2006, and this year 16 nations lined out in the battle for the team medals.
It came down to a two-way tussle between Germany and Ireland, both carrying just four faults after the first two rounds. And it was jump-off clears from pathfinder Cormac Hanley (Pageant Prince), nephew of Irish team member Cameron Hanley, and anchor rider Kerry Taggart (Miss Contradiction) that clinched it when the remaining two Irish team members collected just four faults apiece. Frederike Staack (Coolman H) kept a clean sheet for Germany, but her team-mates all faulted once to leave her side with a total of eight, while the British took bronze with six faults over the first two rounds. Poland and France finished equal-fourth with eight faults.
Irish team manager and former Hickstead Derby winner Commandant John Ledingham, was full of praise for his team. “Last year we won the bronze medal in the Children’s Championship and two of these guys were also on that team. Here we won thanks to Kerry Taggart. She is very fast – she also won a Grand Prix in Wales – and she has been key to our success this weekend,” he pointed out.
The Italians were clear-cut winners of the Junior team title when finishing with a fence in hand over Denmark while Norway claimed the bronze. At the outset Virginia Caruso was not an obvious candidate for the individual title after making a single mistake in the opening round of the team event, but, as it turned out, that would be her only error. Her nearest challengers all carried eight faults, and it was Turkey’s Derin Demirsoy (Madick) who took silver when quickest in the three-way jump-off against The Netherlands’ Demi Dijks (Tobias) who took bronze and Great Britain’s Jessica Dimmock (Capello 11) whose slow time kept her out of the medals.
Caruso admitted that she never expected to be individual Junior champion. “This was a whole new experience for me and I didn’t even expect to make it to the final!” she said afterwards. “When I went into the arena I wasn’t thinking about winning a medal, I was just thinking about jumping a clear round,” she explained, adding, “I’d like to thank my coach, Bruno Chimirri, the team coach Emilio Puricelli and definitely my parents without whom I would not be here.”
Emilio Puricelli said the result wasn’t entirely a surprise even though this is his first year as trainer. “It is a really strong group; every junior rider has their own trainer. They already won two Nations Cups during the season at Arezzo (ITA) and Lemprechthausen (AUT), so we came here with a lot of confidence.”
Rik Deraedt, deputising for Phiippe Guerdat because the Belgian Chef d’Equipe was on duty at the FEI Nations Cup show in Falsterbo (SWE), came up with the perfect result on his debut at the helm. “I’m one of the trainers for Belgium, I’ve been working with the children for 30 years now, but normally Philippe does this job and this is my first time to do it so I’m very pleased!” he said after his country took Young Riders double-gold. A total of 23 faults was good enough to clinch the team title ahead of the Swiss with 25 and the bronze medallists from Great Britain who collect a total of 30. The Dutch were only one fault further adrift with 31. Time faults proved influential in the Young Rider classes.
With the result of the first qualifier calculated into points, Nicola Philippaerts was well in contention for the individual honours when carrying just 0.98 into the team leg, and, adding only a single time fault there, his overall total of 1.98 left him with an impressive edge over the rest of the field. Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs (Principal 12) was more than seven points further in arrears when claiming silver while Germany’s Katrin Eckermann (Carlson 46) was a further seven points adrift when claiming individual bronze ahead of Great Britain’s Lucy Guild (Titi d’Oase) who missed out on a medal by less than a single penalty point.
It had been a significant step up in class for Philippaerts who is still eligible for Junior competition. “My brother (Olivier) and I already did three years in Juniors so we decided to move on to Young Rider level even though we are only 18,” he explained. He was very happy with the performance of his nine year old gelding Carlos VHPZ. “He is my best horse and I hope to keep him if he is not sold” said the young man who already knows that just about all horses are on the market if the price is right. “I have him since he was seven, and this weekend he was jumping really strongly,” he added proudly.
It wasn’t only the winning competitors who were happy at the end of the day yesterday however. Event Director Antonio Moura said, “For the Organising Committee of the FEI European Championships for Children, Juniors and Young Riders 2011 it has been like a dream come true. Our experience with the Atlantic tour has definitely helped us to succeed in the organisation of this event, because we have a great team behind us. We would like to do it all again!”
For full results and further information on the FEI European Jumping Championships for Children, Juniors and Young Riders 2011 go to website www.alubox.pt.
Children’s Team Championship: Gold – Ireland 4 faults (in Jump-Off against Germany) – Pageant Prince (Cormac Hanley), Young Limerick (Thomas Harty), Cord Alou (Tim MacDonagh), Miss Contradiction (Kerry Taggart); Silver – Germany 8 faults (in Jump-Off against Ireland) – Contento 4 (Celine Schradick), Quiloa du Tillard (Leonie Krieg), Coolman H (Frederike Staack), Cornelia 29 (Daniel Bottcher); Bronze – Great Britain 6 faults (over first two rounds) – Witch (Emily Ward), Wietske (Charlotte Smet), Sunsolde (Kerstin Deakin), Trueleva (Millie Allen).
Children’s Individual Championship: Gold – Ubalia (Lisa Nooren) NED 0/40.02; Silver – Kaloubet d’Tourelle (Paul Delforge) FRA 0/42.53; Bronze – Whippersnapper (Maxine de Pelsmaeker) BEL 0/42.86.
Junior Team Championship: Gold – Italy 14 faults – Breezer (Filippo Codecasa), Carethago Z (Nicolo Vincenzo Callerio), Lune de l’Othain (Virginia Caruso, Lady Chanu (Francesca Arioldi); Silver – Denmark 18 faults – Womack Van ‘T Oud Vliegveld (Christian Tetziaff), Coolman (Julie Meiland Hansen), George (Shannon Mejnert Ketterie), Rivaro (Camilla Ernst); Bronze – Norway 6 faults (in Jump-Off against The Netherlands) – Clintash (Hedvig Eiklid), Seloria (Benedikte Endersen), Upwood (Siri M Bakken), Chiara (Regine Eikild).
Junior Individual Championship: Gold – Lune de l’Othain (Virginia Caruso) ITA 4 faults; Silver – Madick (Derin Demirsoy) TUR 0/36.79 secs (in three-way jump-off); Bronze – Tobias (Demi Dijks) NED 0/39.68 secs (in three-way jump-off).
Young Riders Team Championship: Gold – Belgium 23 faults – Cabrio van de Heffinck (Olivier Philippaerts), Storm (Jessica Geurts), Sandor de la pomme (Victor Kumps), Carlos BHPZ (Nicola Philippaerts); Silver – Switzerland 25 faults – Principal 12 (Martin Fuchs), Urasie de Remd’Peine (Aurelie Wettstein), Socrates (Martina meroni), Candella (Jennifer Meylan); Bronze – Great Britain 30 faults – Rival (Jason Smith), Titi d’Oase (Lucy Guild), Tubana (George Whitaker), Chauvanist (Daniel Neilson).
Young Riders Individual Championship: Gold – Carlos VHPZ (Nicola Philippaerts) BEL 1.98; Silver – Principal 12 (Martin Fuchs) SUI 9, Bronze – Carlson 46 (Katrin Eckermann) 16.72.