Tag Archives: FEI Children’s International Classics

Gold for Host Nation’s Garcia at Memorable Children’s Championship in Mexico

(L to R) Issam Haddad from Lebanon (silver), Eugenia Garcia from Mexico (gold,) and Ana Sofia Alban from Mexico (bronze). (FEI/Anwar Esquivel)

Lausanne (SUI), 1 February 2015 – Mexico’s Eugenia Garcia and Ana Sofia Alban claimed individual gold and bronze, while Lebanese rider Issam Haddad took individual silver at the FEI Children’s International Classics Final 2014 which drew to a close at Valle de Bravo, Mexico yesterday.

These Championships are designed to develop young talent, and the 2014 qualifying series visited 34 venues all around the globe, beginning at Gisborne, New Zealand a year ago and concluding in Delhi, India last November. Divided into gold, silver and bronze tours, it is the gold tour riders only who participate at the world Final where the visitors compete on borrowed horses over courses up to 1.30m in height.

A total of 32 competitors from 13 countries – Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Great Britain, Lebanon, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Venezuela – lined out this year, and the host venue at Valle de Bravo provided the perfect setting for a great week of sport.

Results accumulated

The event took place across several days, and included training opportunities, a warm-up competition, two qualifying classes, a Farewell competition and the Final which is open to the top 16 athletes based on results accumulated across two qualifiers and limited to a maximum of eight athletes from the host country.

Host nation athletes are permitted to bring two of their own horses to the event, and draws establish which of the two they will ride. A further draw pairs up the foreign athletes with the remaining horses on offer, but it was the home runners who dominated the two qualifying rounds, filling the first nine places in the opening competition and the top seven spots the following day.

Martina Franco took the early lead with a win in last Wednesday’s first qualifier with Zenith M, pipping the eventual bronze medallist Ana Sofia Alban and Wagner by almost a full second in this speed competition which saw 12 of the 32 starters jump clear.

Eugenia Garcia had to settle for seventh spot this time out with Coqueta LA, but the following day the pair reigned supreme ahead of Paulina Escobar riding Quo Libri de Comene while another of the Mexican contingent, Carlos Hank, lined up third. There were 15 into the jump-off here, and 11 produced double-clear performances to underline the quality of the riders taking part.

Team award

These first two classes also decided the Team award, and the combined talent of Lebanon’s Issam Haddad (Cilantra), Russia’s Polina Matveeva (Brendo B), and Mexico’s Edgar Gaytan (Uno) and Antonio Abascal (Contino 4) claimed gold ahead of Australia’s Sophia Carlon (Kleiner Ottifant), Chile’s Pamela Buhler (Casquico) and Mexico’s Nicole Meyer (Welverwind) and Karime Perez (Gama Cocu). The winning foursome were outright champions when the only ones to produce a zero score while the silver medallists finished on eight and the bronze medal team of Venezuela’s Constanza Romer (Langeoog), Brazil’s Gabriel Junquiera (Rador) and Mexico’s Carlos Hank (Contigo) and Martina Franco (Zenith) racked up a total of 12.

Russia’s Matveeva made an impression when the highest-placed foreign rider in each of the first two competitions. This year’s Team bronze medallist, Venezuela’s Constanza Romer, won individual gold at the 2013 Championships staged in Brazil.

Top-16 Final

The course for Saturday’s top-16 Final was challenging with some tricky lines, and riders made mistakes everywhere on the course. Only six managed to jump clear first time out, and Mexico’s Antonia Abascal was unlucky to lose out on a place in the jump-off when collecting a single time fault.

The six-horse jump-off was a thriller, with Issam Haddad from Lebanon setting the target when first to go with Cilantra and piling on the pressure with a fast clear in 37.45 seconds. Australia’s Sophia Carlon was next in with Kleiner Ottifant but, although fault-free, was three seconds slower and when Nicole Meyer (Welverwind) returned with two fences down and fellow-Mexican Ana Sofia Alban (Wagner) was clear but two seconds off the pace the result was still wide open with two still to go.

Paulina Escobar and Quo Libri De Comene looked set to overtake Haddad until hitting the last and then only Eugenia Garcia and Coqueta LS stood between the 13-year-old Lebanese rider and that glittering gold medal. But Garcia made no mistake, steering her horse home in 34.70 to demote Haddad to silver and Alban to bronze.

Great result

“I had a great result, winning the second qualifier and the Final – I still can’t believe that I won!” said Garcia afterwards. “I started the jump-off with confidence; I owe that to my mental coach Constanza Guerra who has helped me to believe in myself, to have trust and to go into the ring as if I was training at home,” added the rider who will turn 14 next month. Talking about her jump-off ride, she continued, “My horse Coqueta LS is an expert on tight turns and jumped spectacularly. My tactic for the jump-off was to stay in the planned rhythm and pick up time on the turns without taking too many risks. When I came out of the ring I saw my father crying, he was very proud!” she said.

Silver medallist Issam Haddad commented, “From the first training session I already had a good connection with my horse. In the second qualifier I had an unlucky fault at the last fence and I was a bit angry with myself as I thought I might not be qualified for the Final, but I did qualify and was super happy! I started the jump-off with nothing to lose as I knew I was already placed, but of course I was hoping for a place on the podium. I rode my own round, didn’t take all the risks but wanted to set a good time to put the pressure on the rest as there were a few more to come after me,” explained the young man who was accompanied to the Championships by his parents, a family friend and his trainer, Karim Fares, who rides internationally for Lebanon.

Ana Sofia Alban was delighted with her bronze medal. ”It was great!” she said. “I was a bit nervous going into the Final, but a good kind of nervous which made me sharp. The course was not easy; in fact it was pretty tough. I had fun riding the jump-off as the crowd started whistling and cheering me on during my round. My plan was short turns but first of all aiming for a clear round so I didn’t risk it all,” she explained.

Style award

There was also a Style Award, which went to Belgium’s Thomas Thometschek riding Tambo Negro. “I had so much fun!” Thomas said. I didn’t qualify for the Final but when I heard that there was an award for the most stylish rider I was hoping I had a chance of winning it. My trainer Rik Deraedt was here with me and I have learnt so much from him. I owe my style of riding and eye for the fence all to him,” he pointed out.

The Organising Committee at Valle de Bravo did themselves proud and gave the children an experience they will never forget. Apart from the competitions, a lot of extra activities were organised including go-karting, climbing, archery and zip-lining and the 32 young people all went home having enjoyed themselves thoroughly, made many new friends, demonstrated their talent and learned a great deal.

Result: Gold: Eugenia Garcia MEX (Coqueta LS); Silver: Issam Haddad LIB (Cilantra); Bronze: Ana Sofia Alban MEX (Wagner).

Full results here: http://www.fei.org/fei-ch-inter-classics/2014-final.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 45

Venezuela’s Constanza Römer Storms to Victory in Brasilia

(left to right): Germany’s Tom Hartlaub is all smiles alongside Brazil’s Samanta Barbosa Tiveron, Syria’s Mohd Ghali Al Zaibak, Brazilian bronze medallist Filipe Baratella Risi, gold medallist Constanza Römer (VEN), silver medallist Paulo Roberto Brasileiro de Miranda (BRA), Lara Potechi Grigoletto (BRA), Henry Hardman Virgulino (BRA) and William Fletcher (GBR). (Photo: José Edson Gonçalves Da Silva/FEI)

Lausanne (SUI), 18 December 2013 – Venezuela’s Constanza Römer, aged 13, stormed to gold on borrowed horse Scott at the FEI Children’s International Classics Final 2013 last Sunday (15 December).

In a thrilling nine-horse jump-off at the beautiful Sociedade Hípica de Brasília (BRA), silver and bronze medals went to athletes from the host nation, Paulo Roberto Brasilerio de Miranda on Dijon JC and Filipe Baratella Risi on Cordina.

Brasilia backdrop

Some of the world’s best young athletes converged on Brazil’s capital city, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site created a stunning backdrop for this exciting competition and a fitting conclusion to the FEI Children’s International Classics Gold Tour qualifying rounds, which have taken place across the world over the past year.

All nine FEI Regional Groups were represented by 16 qualified athletes from Argentina, France, Germany, Great Britain, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Syria, Venezuela and host nation Brazil.

Quid pro quo

The FEI Children’s International Classics Final takes place on borrowed horses. Host nation athletes bring two of their own horses, and draws establish which of the two the host athletes will ride. A further draw pairs up the foreign athletes with the remaining horses.

The Final takes place across several days, this year starting on 10 December, and includes a warm-up competition, two qualifying competitions, a Farewell competition and the Final competition, which is open to the top 16 athletes based on the results accumulated across the two qualifiers and to a maximum of eight host athletes.


The FEI Children’s International Classics Final is a true festival of sport. The Organising Committee, headed by the Vice President of the Brazilian Equestrian Federation Ronaldo Bittencourt Filho, took the opportunity to organise cultural activities throughout the week, including a special visit to the 1st Regimento de Cavalaria de Guardas and a city tour of Brasilia, giving the youngsters the opportunity to mix and forge strong friendships, which is one of the most important ideals behind this Final.

South American Farewell

The day started with the Farewell, a Table A competition against the clock, and the last chance for those athletes not qualified to fight for the medals in the Final competition.

First into the ring was Great Britain’s Charlie Jones, aged 14. He put in a fabulous performance at his first Final with just six penalties after a late substitution with his initial drawn horse, leaving him just one 30-minute training session to familiarise with Xanadu.

Maddison Bult (NZL), last to go of the foreign athletes, and having missed out on a place in the Final competition by just one point, crossed the finish line with a very respectable four-fault score, slotting her into 11th position.

South America proved dominant in the final classification however with Brazil’s Filipe Piza de Toledo de Lorenzo taking the win, Mariana Sadde from Venezuela in second and Leonardo Parzianello Nassif (BRA) completing the podium.

Final Sixteen

The final competition for the top 16 athletes took place over a testing 1.20 metre course designed by Mexico’s Oscar Soberon.

Great Britain’s William Fletcher was the first to leave all the fences standing, but a single time fault kept him out of the jump-off. However, the officials recognised the talent of this young athlete with the “Most Stylish Rider” award.

Six Brazilian athletes went through to the jump-off, joined by Germany’s Tim Hartlaub on Vancouver de la Vaux, Syria’s Mohd Ghali Al Zaibak with the brilliant Carlota Jmen and Venezuela’s Constanza Römer with Scott.

Al Zaibak was the first to go clear against the clock, with the audience giving thunderous applause for this popular athlete. Brazil’s Brasilerio de Miranda and Baratella Risi then followed with clear rounds and faster times, before Römer produced a quick and fluid performance which catapulted her to the top step of the podium.

With two extremely consistent Brazilian athletes, Barbosa Tiveron and Chiang Cheng still to come, the competition appeared to be wide open, but despite incredible prior performances the pressure was too much for these future stars.

Barbosa Tiveron completed the course with four faults for a fifth place finish, but Chiang Cheng took an unfortunate tumble half way around the course when a missed stride ended in her parting company from her fantastic horse VL Asterix Latin, resulting in elimination. Both horse and rider were uninjured and left the arena to great applause for their bravery and excellent sportsmanship.

Golden girl

So victory was sealed for Römer. After riding a horse she had known for a mere five days, she swooped in to take gold at this thrilling Final.

Her triumph was no fluke however, as this talented athlete who will no doubt soon be a familiar name on the international circuit, topped the worldwide Gold Tour Standings after an extraordinary year.

“If anyone is searching for a definition of the FEI Family then they need look no further than this event, which encompasses so many values and ideal ethics of the sport we seek to find today,” concluded FEI 2nd Vice President, Mr Pablo Mayorga (ARG). “I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful athletes over the last few days and I am confident that the future of our sport is safe in their young hands.”

FEI Children’s International Classics Final 2013 – Results:

Gold: Constanza Römer (VEN)/Scott
Silver: Paulo Roberto Brasilerio de Miranda (BRA)/Dijon JC
Bronze: Filipe Baratella Risi (BRA)/Cordina

For full results: www.fei.org/fei-ch-inter-classics/2013-final.

By Anna Williams

FEI Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 45