Lambert Leclezio (MRI) (FEI/Daniel Kaiser)
Lausanne (SUI), 21 August 2016 – Competitors from 20 different nations came to Le Mans for the World Senior Vaulting Championships and the Junior European Vaulting Championships. The atmosphere at Boulerie Jump was electric as athletes battled it out for the eight FEI titles on offer. Spectators were treated to a range of different themes from the individuals, Pas de deux and teams, all who were hoping for that elusive FEI medal.
Senior Female class
Coming into the senior female competition, the class was wide open with a number of competitors winning CVIs throughout the season. However, it was Pas de deux superstar Jasmin Lindner who stole the show, leading the class from the initial compulsory round and advancing her lead throughout the following freestyle and technical rounds. Jasmin amazed audiences with her range of moves especially a difficult combination of a backwards handstand on the handles through to an inside bounce.
Coming into the last day, Linder, who teamed up with her long term lunger Klaus Haidacher and her horse Dr Doolittle 5, competing in its first championship, needed to do a clean freestyle to take the all-important gold medal. Last to go, she performed effortlessly and as she dismounted it was clear she would now be FEI Individual Female World Champion™ her gold medal adding to her collection of gold World medals in Pas de deux and her previous world team medals.
Scoring a total of 8,212, Jasmin commented after the event, “It’s a great feeling because it is really surprising for me that I have won individual. I thought that I could make the top five. But I never thought I could win this championship.”
It was a tough contest for silver and bronze with many of the women making costly errors in the initial freestyle and technical test rounds. Kristina Boe, who has been amazing audiences all year with her zombie themed freestyle, unfortunately got a costly time penalty in her first freestyle which resulted in her not getting her last risk move or dismount counted and occurring a one point deduction off her artistic score.
However, Kristina, who teamed with Don de la Mar and Winnie Schlüter, rectified the mistake and captivated the crowds in Le Mans with her portrayal of Mary Poppins in technical and the highest scoring final freestyle of 8.559 to score a total of 8.108. Marina Mohar and Nadja Büttiker put in great performances for Switzerland to finish fifth and sixth, respectively. Janika Derks, competing on a new horse to the competition circuit, Bella Bientje, came back from a fall in the first freestyle round to take fourth place. However, it was the FEI World Equestrian Games™ silver medallist Anna Cavallaro who managed to take the bronze medal for Italy with a smooth performance on her new horse Monaco Franze 4 with lunger Nelson Vidoni at the helm.
The men’s competition climaxed in a gripping final. The top two competitors after first round Clement Taillez and Lambert Leclezio both made errors in one of the five important technical test moves: jump to backwards, which left them both having to fight back in order to try to fill one of the spaces on the podium. Their mistakes left the door open for the three German competitors, Jannis Drewell, Thomas Brusewitz and Daniel Kaiser. Jannis Drewell, last year’s FEI European Vaulting Champion™, suffered a fall from the horse in the first round freestyle whilst impersonating the famous Sherlock Holmes. However, after a solid technical test and final freestyle, he scored 8.117 in total, thus securing a bronze medal for Germany. Thomas, last year’s silver medallist, competing on new horse Big Star, unfortunately wasn’t able to capitalise on his first place in technical test and thus had to settle for fifth place. Vincent Haennel stunned the home crowd with his final freestyle, performing it impeccably. Alongside his horse Quartz D’Olbiche and lunger Fabrice Holzberger, he scored a total of 8.127 which put the pressure firmly on the shoulders of the young Mauritian Lambert Leclezio who was the last to perform with his team horse Quiece d’aunis and lunger Sandra Tronchet. The young 19 year old, who made a name for himself at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2014 and won the Longines Rising Star Award the same year, was able to show his unique strength and flexibility within his routine to score 8,593 in the final freestyle and thus with a score of 8.135 went on to win the first ever gold Equestrian Vaulting medal for Mauritius. World Champion Lambert enthused, “I am relieved. It has been really a lot of work and I am really happy that we did it. We had the most fun in the final round. It felt easy today.”
Senior Pas de deux
Jasmin Lindner and Luckas Wacha treated the audience to a Pas de deux masterclass, repeating the feat they managed for the first time five years ago winning the FEI World Championship in Pas de deux. Together with Dr Doolittle 5 and Klaus Haidacher, they were untouchable. As firm favourites of the class coming into the event the pressure was on their shoulders, yet they managed to command the class as they performed two routines to perfection, scoring a perfect 10 for artistic from judge Karolina Wickholm on day one. This rounded off a golden day for Jasmin Lindner, Dr Doolittle and Klaus Haidacher, who took gold earlier in the female individual class. They were the only Pas de deux to score over a 9 finishing on a total of 9.084. Second place was closely fought between Janika Derks and Johannes Kay from Germany, Lucie and Simon Chevrel from France and Silvia Stopazzini and Lorenzo Lupacchini from Italy. The German Pas de deux were the first of the last four to go and laid down the gauntlet for the rest of the class. Together in a historic pairing with Alexander Hartl and Holt’s Romeo – as their own horse had a little injury – they scored a total of 8.435. Next to go was the French pair who performed their ‘Adam and Eve’ routine with an impressive stand on stand block to finish. With lunger Elke Nousse and horse Rayo de la Luz they faced an anxious wait as their score of 8.370 put them into second place with two more Pas de deux to compete. Next to go, Silvia Stopazzini and Lorenzo Lupacchini proved that they are a pairing to watch out for in the future. However, their score of 8.185 put them behind the German and the French pairs and with the multiple championship winning pair of Lindner and Wacha left to perform, it looked like the result would not be enough to guarantee them the medal. Last to go, Lindner and Wacha proved that they are Pas de deux legends in the sport, being unbeatable at every World and European Championship since 2012. The audience was electric as they appreciated the spectacle that the Austrian pair had treated them too.
The team competition resulted in a nail biting final. Team Germany on Lazio lunged by Alexander Hartl led the class after the compulsory round by a significant margin. However, after the first round freestyle Team France represented by Team Noroc and featuring 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games Champion Jacques Ferrari, started closing the gap on their rivals. Partnered with Sandra Tronchet and horse Wizner, their revolutionary style of vaulting – dynamic, creating interesting shapes on the horse whilst interpreting different birds – amazed the crowd in Le Mans. Also achieving a perfect 10 from Pavla Kraupse for artistic in the final day, they were able to perform two incredible freestyle performances to score 8.343 and take the gold medal ahead of the German team, who were represented by Team Ingelsberg on Lazio 9 lunged by Alexander Hartl. Austria’s ‘Revenge’ themed freestyle featured a never been done before – handstand on the straight arms of someone standing. Along with their horse Alessio l’Amabile and lunger Maria Lehmann they were able to take the bronze a medal – one which has availed them the past couple of years. Fourth place was occupied by Team Switzerland who managed to put on a fantastic show despite having to make changes due to injury in the past couple of weeks.
After a strong Austrian presence in the Junior Female class over the last few years, the German representatives stole the show and largely dominated throughout the competition resulting in them taking home every medal on offer. This was the first time any nation has achieved this feat in the FEI European Vaulting Championship™ Junior Female class since its introduction back in 2008. Mara Xander, her first time in these championships, took gold in emphatic style scoring 8.466 in her final freestyle leading the rest of the field by a whole 0.6 marks. The 15 year old, alongside her horse Luigi 198 and lunger Andrea Blatz, scored a total of 8.147, performing four tight rounds and setting herself above the rest of the field. Her freestyle was perfectly balanced between artistic impression and difficulty alike. The silver medal went to last year’s FEI World Junior Championships™ silver medallist Franziska Peitzmeier competing with her medal winning combination of Anna Brinkhamm on the lunge and 9 year old gelding Dorian Gray SN. She scored a total of 7.853. Hannah Steverding completed the podium for Germany, her bronze medal being the first of two medals she won this championship, with an upbeat freestyle to Doris Days’ ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’. Together with experienced horse Cyrano 147 and Doris Marquart, she was able to post a total of 7.707.
This year’s junior male competition was a highly competitive class which saw the leader change almost every round. Going into the final day the title was there for anyone to take. This year also saw a lot of new young faces burst onto the scene. Last to go on the first day Philip Clement, who only turned 14 in May, cemented himself as one to watch in the future by taking the lead in the first compulsory round. He went on to make an impact in the freestyle round with his theme of the ocean showing a mix of flexibility and strength. He just missed out on the podium; taking fourth place, however, is an exciting prospect is for the future. Likewise, 15 year old Ludo Campïon, who was last to go on the final day with Françoise Sivar and Ipsos d’Ecotay, wowed crowds with his freestyle and full twist dismount to take home the silver medal for the host nation France, scoring a total of 7.459. However, it was Konstantin Näser who managed to put in four solid rounds to score a total of 7.479 take the title for Germany and continue the German gold rush that day. He partnered with Cyrano 147 and Doris Marquart who had just taken the bronze medal in the Junior Female class. In this tight final there were a number of vaulters in the running for the bronze medal. It went to Leon Hüsgen from the famed club Neuss Grimlenhausen. He fought back hard after a disappointing first compulsory round, where he placed eighth to come alive in the second round with a great final compulsory and freestyle set to score 7.443 and secure the third position on the podium.
Junior Pas de deux
Diana Harwardt and Julian Kögl won the Junior Pas de deux title for the first time for Germany since its inception in 2012. Together with lunger Hendrick Falk and Longinus 4, they performed a graceful, near perfect routine both days to clinch the title with a score of 7.989 and win the class by a huge margin of 0.9. With 0.4 separating the rest of the field going into the final day all the remaining Pas de deux were in with a chance. However, it was Spain’s Lucy Mae and Layla Anne Fraser who made history by taking home the silver medal for Spain, performing their space routine to score 7.239 overall. They were aided by their mother Diane on the lunge and horse Simbal to come through from sixth place on the first day. This is Spain’s first ever medal in Equestrian Vaulting and the Fraser sisters, who had a tense wait in kiss and cry, could not contain their excitement as they found out they had become European medallists. The bronze medal was hard fought and eventually went to Austria’s Clara Köpke and Lara Maurer partnering with their horse Louis Bonheur and lunger Lena Kalcher-Prein to score a total of 7.143.
The junior team competition culminated in a duel between Germany – represented by Mainz Ebersheim – and Switzerland – represented by Montmirail, with the latter coming through to win the competition by a narrow 0.028 margin in the final round. After finishing compulsories in third place, Switzerland, aided by their horse Livanto CHA CH lunged by Mirjam Degiorgi, fought back round by round putting in two energetic performances of their dynamic freestyle to score 7.610 to take home gold for Switzerland. This is the first time Switzerland has ever won the title of FEI Junior European™ team champions. Germany, lunged by Alexandra Dietrich on Celebration 38, had to settle for the silver medal, performing two enjoyable rounds of their Japanese inspired freestyle. They fell just short of taking the title scoring 7.582 overall. Third place was occupied by the current FEI Junior World Champions™ Austria, represented by the successful Club 43 competing on Darwin 5 lunged by Karen Asmera. After a shaky first freestyle they pulled out a great final performance of their circus freestyle to score 7.321 and take the bronze medal. The Czech Republic showed great potential for the future, finishing fourth with 6.999, with Italy also delighting audiences with their Mary Poppins theme, finishing fifth on a total of 6.964.
German National Trainer Ulla Ramage commented on the success of the Germans in the Junior Championship after taking three of the four titles on offer. “I expected success but now we got more than I was expecting; we gave them more support and we had a master plan for this. This was the reason for the success.”
Individual Senior Female: Gold – Jasmin Lindner (AUT) 8.212; Silver – Kristina Boe (GER) 8.108; Bronze – Anna Cavallaro (ITA) 7.992.
Individual Senior Male: Gold – Lambert Leclezio (MRI) 8.135; Silver – Vincent Haennel (FRA) 8.127; Bronze – Jannis Drewell (GER) 8.117.
Senior Pas de deux: Gold – Jasmin Lindner & Lukas Wacha (AUT) 9.084; Silver – Janika Derks & Johannes Kay (GER) 8.435; Bronze – Simon & Lucie Chevrel (FRA) 8.370.
Senior Squad: Gold – France (FRA) 8.343; Silver – Germany (GER) 8.260; Bronze – Austria (AUT) 8.159.
Individual Junior Male: Gold – Konstantin Näser (GER) 7.479; Silver – Ludo Campïon (FRA) 7.459; Bronze – Leon Hüsgen (GER) 7.443
Individual Junior Female: Gold – Mara Xander (GER) 8.147; Silver – Franziska Peitzmeier (GER) 7.853; Bronze – Hannah Steverding (GER) 7.707.
Junior Pas De Deux: Gold – Diana Harwardt & Julian Kögl (GER) 7.989; Silver – Layla Anne Fraser & Lucy Mae Fraser (ESP) 7.239; Bronze – Clara Köpke & Lara Maurer (AUT) 7.143.
Junior Squad: Gold – Switzerland (SUI) 7.610; Silver – Germany (GER) 7.582; Bronze – Austria (AUT) 7.321.
For full results and information, visit the Official Website: www.pole-europeen-du-cheval.com.
Re-watch the action on the FEI YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/feichannel.
By Hannah Eccles
Manager Press Relations
+41 79 314 24 38