FEI World Cup Vaulting 2016/17: The Countdown Begins – Who Will Be Triumphant?

Daniel Kaiser (GER), winner of the FEI World Cup™ Vaulting 2015/16 individual male title (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Lausanne (SUI), 23 November 2016 – This week the thrilling FEI World Cup™ Vaulting 2016/17 season gets underway, as vaulters compete at two different stations, Madrid (ESP) and Paris (FRA), for the all-important points to qualify for the final in Dortmund (GER), March 2017.

The event, which has proved to be an overwhelming success, returns with this promising to be its best year yet.  Many of the stars of this summer’s FEI World Vaulting Championships in Le Mans (FRA) are taking part in the hope of winning the prestigious FEI World Cup™ Vaulting title.

In a sport that is continually growing, crowds are promised jaw dropping routines as vaulters perform a mixture of power and grace moves, all creatively intertwined with music to entertain equestrian audiences, as vaulters battle it out for the titles of individual male, individual female and Pas de Deux.

With the emphasis solely on two rounds of freestyle, vaulters are continually having to push the boundaries of imagination and artistry in order to set themselves apart from the competition.

There is a top class line up, and with a range of championship winners and medallists all vying for the title, it is a tough competition to call. After Madrid and Paris vaulters will head to Salzburg (AUT), Mechelen (BEL) and Leipzig (GER), seeking qualifying for the Dortmund final.

Individual male – a tough battle

Last year’s individual male winner Daniel Kaiser (GER) will compete at the season opener in Madrid, 24-25 November, which successfully hosted its inaugural FEI World Cup™ Vaulting qualifier last year. He will face the challenge from fellow Germans, European silver medallist from Aachen 2015 Thomas Brüsewitz and Jannik Heiland (GER) and from Switzerland’s Lukas Heppler.

Whilst in Paris (26-27 November), FEI World Vaulting Championships 2016 silver medallist Frenchman Vincent Haennel, will be the firm favourite to win in front of the home crowd.  He will have to fend off strong competition from club mate Clement Taillez for those crucial World Cup points. Switzerland’s Lukas Heppler – who will compete at both Madrid and Paris qualifiers – and Hungary’s Balazs Bence will also be hoping to put on the pressure.

Audiences will have to wait until Salzburg, 8-9 December, for the rematch between German countrymen Daniel Kaiser and Jannis Drewell – who battled it out for the title last year.  Jannis finished the year as the ranked number one male vaulter in the world.

Individual female – A new champion

Following the retirement of FEI World Cup™ Vaulting 2016 individual female winner Simone Jäiser (SUI), this division will be closely contested.

Runner-up in last year’s FEI World Cup™ Vaulting, and coming off the back of her most successful season, where she won the silver medal at the FEI Vaulting World Championships 2016 and ranked number one female vaulter in the world, Kristina Boe (GER) will be the frontrunner coming into the winter season. Freestyle specialist Kristina will make her FEI World Cup™ Vaulting 2016/2017 debut in Mechelen (BEL), 27-29 December.

She will have tough competition for the title from previous FEI World Cup™ Vaulting winner Anna Cavallaro (ITA), who is back on top form with her new equine partner Monaco Franze 4. Together they won the bronze medal at this summer’s World Championship. She heads up the Madrid line up which commences at 19.00 local time on Thursday 24 November, where she will face opposition from Austria’s Isabel Fiala and the young Swiss competitors, Marina Mohar and Nadja Büttiker who have positioned themselves at the top of the sport.

The current number two in the individual female world rankings, Janika Derks (GER), will be the favourite for the Paris qualifier which commences on Saturday 26 November at 16:30 local time, where her competition will be Switzerland’s Pascale Wagner and Austria’s Isabel Fiala – who will compete at both Madrid and Paris.

Pas de Deux – Three Hearts

Janika will also contend for the top points with her Pas de Deux partner Johannes Kay (GER), together the FEI World Vaulting Championship 2016 silver medallists.  Battling them for the sought after points on home soil, are French brother and sister combination, bronze medallists from this summer’s championships Lucie and Simon Chevrel, and the Swiss pairing of Zoe Maruccio and Syra Schmid.

It will be in Salzburg when the Pas de Deux competition really heats up with Italians Silvia Stopazzini and Lorenzo Lupacchini hoping to improve upon their fourth place position at this summer’s championship.

This hotly contested class includes the German pairing of Theresa-Sophie Bresch and Torben Jacobs in their comeback season, Torben, who took last year’s FEI World Cup™ Vaulting title with Pia Engelberty, is back with the partner with whom he won the FEI European Championships in 2011, following Engelberty’s retirement from the sport.

Whilst there is no Pas de Deux at the Madrid qualifier, the inclusion of the Pas de Deux class into the FEI World Cup™ Vaulting calendar in 2014 took public interest in the sport to a new level.  The unconditional trust of the pairs is obvious as they perform daring lifts coupled with interesting transitions, expanding the FEI’s Two Hearts concept.

Equally important are the horses who not only allow the vaulters to perform these awe inspiring routines but are also marked themselves making up 25% of the total score. With a mix of experienced and young horses taking part in the tournament – it will be interesting to see the impact our equine partners have on proceedings.

Bettina de Rham, FEI Director of Vaulting, says, “FEI World Cup Vaulting is back for its seventh season with the world’s best male, female and pas-de-deux athletes competing in five qualifiers at amazing venues. We kick off with Paris and Madrid this weekend, followed by Salzburg next month, and Mechelen taking us to Leipzig in the New Year ahead of the Dortmund Final in March.

“This series will certainly be dramatic with the athletes’ routines becoming more sophisticated every year. We’re all now very much looking forward to seeing the world’s best vaulters, lungers and horses perform in this truly thrilling World Series.”

There will be live coverage from Madrid and Paris, with Competition Day 1 on the FEI You Tube channel and Competition Day 2 live on FEI TV from each venue.

Male Category:

Balazs Bence (HUN), Thomas Brüsewitz (GER), Francesco Bortoletto (ITA), Jannis Drewell (GER), Dominik Eder (AUT), Vincent Haennel (FRA), Jannik Heiland (GER), Lukas Heppler (SUI), Daniel Kaiser (GER), Lorenzo Lupacchini (ITA), Ramin Simon Rahimi (AUT), Clement Taillez (FRA).

Female Category:

Regina Burgmayr (GER), Kristina Boe (GER) Nadja Büttiker (SUI), Anna Calvallaro (ITA), Janika Derks (GER),  Isabel Fiala (AUT), Corinna Knauf (GER), Katharina Luschin (AUT)(TBC), Marina Mohar (SUI), Silvia Stopazzini (ITA), Pascale Wagner (SUI).

Pas De Deux Category:

Theresa-Sophie Bresch & Torben Jacobs (GER), Lucie & Simon Chevrel (FRA), Janika Derks & Johannes Kay (GER), Zoe Maruccio & Syra Schmid (SUI), Jolina Ossenberg-Engeld & Timo Gerdes (GER), Alexandra Semeredy & Petra Dragan (HUN), Silvia Stopazzini & Lorenzo Lupacchini (ITA).

Full information on the FEI website here.

Social media hashtags: #FEIWorldCup #vaulting

By Hannah Eccles

FEI Media Contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
+41 79 314 24 38

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