Tag Archives: Michèle George

Roxanne Trunnell Breaks Paralympic Record in Stunning Night of Freestyle Displays

L-R: Rihards Snikus (LAT) silver, Roxanne Trunnell (USA) gold, Sara Morganti (ITA) bronze (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Roxanne Trunnell (USA) broke the nine-year-old Grade I Paralympic Freestyle record in a stunning Freestyle competition which also saw Sir Lee Pearson (GBR) take his third gold of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The highest scoring podium

Grade I was the only Grade to have three athletes with a score of over 80% on the podium. Roxanne Trunnell (USA) scored 86.927% on Dolton to break the previous record of 84.750% set by Sophie Christiansen (GBR) in London 2012.

“I just wanted a nice test. It felt good with the music the whole time,” Roxanne said. “It’s been really nice. Everyone is so happy and friendly it makes everyone in the barn happy. It’s just fun. Everyone will be excited when we get home.”

The ever-brilliant Rihards Snikus (LAT) took his second silver in Tokyo on King of the Dance with 82.087%, doubtless prompting more demands for his DJing skills when he gets back home. For Rihards, these two medals more than make up for his disappointment at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. And third place went to Sara Morganti (ITA) on Royal Delight, with 81.100%.

Sir Lee makes it a golden 14

Sir Lee Pearson (GBR) became the most successful athlete in the entire competition by taking his third gold medal of Tokyo 2020, the 14th of his Paralympic career, in the Grade II Freestyle.

His relatively inexperienced and home-bred partner, Breezer, took him to a massive 82.447% to take the title ahead of Pepo Puch (AUT) who rode Sailor’s Blue to a score of 81.007%. Meanwhile, Lee’s young teammate, Georgia Wilson (GBR), added another brilliant bronze to her collection on Sakura with 76.754%, which is not a bad result for the reserve rider who was called to Tokyo as a last-minute replacement for Sophie Christiansen.

“Number 14, not that we’re counting,” laughed Lee. “I’m twice over the moon. I actually didn’t care if I medalled. That horse gave me his heart in there. He was so much braver than the team and individual test a few days ago. He was still nervous, and we had a tiny little spook when we entered but I said, ‘come on, we can do this’.”

Lee came to Tokyo with Breezer having had to retire from their selection event. “I’ve not managed to ride this Freestyle in a competition, so I’ve been nervous for days. He’s brilliant. I’m taking the best horse home. I didn’t think I could love him any more than I did before but he’s beautiful, amazing.”

Sanne’s HAEVNly gold

Sanne Voets (NED) stormed to victory in the Grade IV Freestyle with a massive personal best score of 82.085% to win her class. Riding Demantur N.O.P. to the stirring music of Dutch artists HAEVN, she finished comfortably ahead of silver medallist Louise Etzner Jakobbson (SWE) who scored 75.935% on Goldstrike B.J. Manon Claeys (BEL) took bronze on San Dior 2 with 75.680%.

Louise’s silver was even more remarkable given that she broke her leg falling off her bike just a couple of months ago, and only got back on a horse to ride two weeks ago during the horses’ quarantine in Aachen (GER).

Speaking after her ride, Sanne said: “I’m not sure I can find the right words. I was really focussed and normally when I first enter a test, I try to make eye contact with the judge. I never did that here; it was just me and my horse and the music. It was a bit like hypnosis. It felt powerful and soft and relaxed and confident. Sometimes when you ride a test, you’re thinking, ‘what do I do now?’ but it was like it just happened to me. It felt like we found that true harmony and it was the two of us and no one else.”

Michele’s golden double

Michele George (BEL) was dominant again in the Grade V Freestyle, defending her London 2012 and Rio 2016 titles with aplomb. She scored 80.590% on Best of 8 to pip Frank Hosmar (NED) to the title by just 0.350 of a point. Frank, riding Alphaville N.O.P., scored 80.240 to take the silver, while Regine Mispelkamp (GER) took bronze with 76.820 on Highlander Delights.

“I’m really blown away. The mare is just fantastic. What can I say? I’m a bit speechless because coming over here with a young horse and showing the world what she’s capable of is just genius. I knew she could, but I thought maybe it was a bit early to show everyone because at home she can work like a queen but at home is at home.”

Michele went into the arena just after Frank had posted his great score. “Once you’re riding into the arena, you don’t look at that,” she said. “I know he had a high score, but I thought the mare feels good, so I came into the arena and tried to make something even better. That’s the spirit.”

Tobias’s double delight

In the second highest winning score of the night, Tobias Thorning Jorgensen (DEN) rode Jolene Hill to his second gold of the Paralympic Games in the Grade III Freestyle. Together they scored a massive 84.347% to take the title ahead of Natasha Baker (GBR), who scored 77.614% on Keystone Daw Chorus. Anne Katrin Lubbe (NOR) took the bronze on La Costa Majlund with 76.477%.

A clearly delighted Tobias said after his ride: “I feel great. I left my head out here this time because I wanted to show I can do this. I just rode to the edge of being too much and I was probably closer to some mistakes today than I was yesterday, but I took the chance.

“I always had the dream of double gold, but I knew it would be hard. I would be happy if it was a silver or bronze, just to get two medals at my first Paralympics, but two golds is amazing.”

At the end of five days of stunning Para Dressage competition, the horses and athletes of Tokyo 2020 will now start their journeys home. They will remember a record-breaking week of drama and fierce competition which saw new champions crowned and titles re-won or defended.

Great Britain tops the Para Dressage table, with three golds, three silvers, and two bronzes, ahead of The Netherlands’ two golds, two silvers, and two bronzes. Belgium takes the third spot with two golds and two bronzes, followed by the USA in fourth position with two golds and a bronze.

The world’s best Para Dressage athletes will gather again in August 2022 at the FEI World Championships in Herning (DEN). Until then, the memories of this competition in Tokyo will be slow to fade. It’s been a dazzling, brilliant Paralympic Games.

by Rob Howell

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Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
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Belgian Paralympian Michèle George Shortlisted for IPC Award

Michèle George (BEL), pictured here with FBW Rainman on their way to Paralympic gold at London 2012, has been shortlisted for the 2013 Paralympic Sport Awards. ©Liz Gregg/FEI.

Lausanne (SUI), 5 September 2013 – Michèle George, the Belgian Para-Equestrian athlete who made her Paralympic debut a winning one with two gold medals at London 2012, has been shortlisted for the 2013 Paralympic Sport Awards.

The 39-year-old Belgian rider, who competes in Grade IV, is one of three shortlisted athletes in the Best Female Games Debut category. She is the first Para-Equestrian athlete to have been shortlisted in the history of the awards.

Michèle George was Belgium’s first Paralympic equestrian gold medal winner since the IPC added the sport to the programme in 1996. Her London 2012 gold medals came in the Individual and Freestyle tests with the then 10-year-old FBW Rainman. She rode the same horse to Freestyle silver at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010 and Freestyle silver at the 2009 European Championships in Kristiansand (NOR).

“I was really honoured even to be nominated for this award, but now I’ve been shortlisted it’s just unbelievable,” Michèle George said. “Winning two gold medals at London 2012 was a dream come true and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me on this incredible journey. If I do win the award, it will be the best possible reward for all the hard work everyone has put in.”

“It is very exciting news that Michèle George has been shortlisted for this award,” FEI Para-Dressage Committee Chair Ulf Wilken said. “It is really wonderful that Para-Equestrian sport is getting such public recognition from IPC members. Michèle is a great representative of the sport and we wish her the best of luck when the winners are announced later in the year.”

The 2013 Paralympic Sport Awards ceremony will take place in Athens (GRE) on Saturday 23 November, when six awards recognising achievements at the London 2012 Paralympic Games will be presented. A total of 15 athletes, who between them won 38 gold medals in London, have been shortlisted for the six categories, which are: best female, best male, best female debut, best male debut, best team and best official.

This year’s awards have attracted a record number of nominations from members and, as a result, the IPC decided to split the Best Games Debut award into two categories for males and females.

The other two athletes shortlisted in the Best Female Games Debut category are Johanna Benson (NAM), who became the first Namibian to win gold in either the Olympic or Paralympic Games when winning the 200m T37 and also took the 100m T37 silver; and Marlou Van Rhijn (NED), who followed up winning 100m and 200m European titles in June by claiming the 200m gold and100m silver in London.

The Paralympic Sport Awards take place in the years following a summer and winter Paralympic Games. For more information on the 2013 Paralympic Sport Awards, please visit www.paralympic.org/TheIPC/HWA/ParalympicSportAwards.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement. The IPC supervises the organisation of the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games, and serves as the International Federation for nine sports, for which it supervises and co-ordinates the World Championships and other competitions.

The IPC is committed to enabling Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and to develop sport opportunities for all persons with a disability from the beginner to elite level. In addition, the IPC aims to promote the Paralympic values, which include courage, determination, inspiration and equality.

The FEI took over as the governing body for Para-Equestrian in 2006, one of the first international governing bodies to govern and regulate a sport for both able-bodied and disabled athletes.

With the idea of creating opportunities for all people with disabilities to compete and achieve their goals in equestrian sport, athletes are classified according to the level of their disability/impairment.

Para-Equestrian Dressage is the only Equestrian discipline that is included in the Paralympic Games, and has been a part of the Paralympic programme since 1996.

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Craig Spence
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Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
Email: grania.willis@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 142

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Media Relations
Email: malina.gueorguiev@fei.org
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