Mill Spring, N.C.—Sept. 19
It was a vibrant night in Tryon at Christie’s International Real Estate Arena as Germany wongold in the first ever Nations Team Championship at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games.
The first medals were awarded for the inaugural Christie’s International Real Estate Nations Team Vaulting Championship which debuted to astounding success and acclaim. Adding fire to the Games, the competition provided the perfect showcase of the evolution and expansion of FEI vaulting worldwide.
Nine nations lined up to represent in this ground-breaking competition. However, it was Germany who will go down in the history books as the first winners of the FEI Nations Team Championship.
The team comprising of Kristina Boe, Jannik Heiland and the German Squad, Team Norka des VV Koeln-Dunnewald, collectively excelled, posting breath-taking scores to take top honours.
Not only do they come away with elusive FEI gold medals around their necks, they leave with bragging rights amongst the global vaulting community, as the newly crowned world’s best vaulting nation.
It was their flawless delivery that sealed the deal with Kristina Boe posting 8.500, Jannik Heiland 8.986 and Team Germany delivering a breath-taking 9.016, for a cumulative total of 26.502.
“It means the world to us because this is the first time this event has been held at the FEI World Equestrian Games,” said Boe. “Therefore, it is such an honor to compete in this competition and to come away with the win is outstanding.
“For us, it is so special because as a contingent we are such great friends, and I think the opportunity to come together and work as a team is fantastic.”
As the scores from the Nations Championship are carried over into their respective classes, the dominant performance by Team Germany could prove defining as we head into the second round of the competition.
“As it also counts as our first freestyle in the team competition, we knew it was vital to perform well. We didn’t look at what any other national team had done before us, and we only focussed on our own performance, as you can’t influence anyone else. I am just so proud of our team,” said coach of the German squad Bamdad Memarian.
Only sheer perfection from Team Germany would secure the gold medal after Team Switzerland, comprising of Nadja Büttiker (8.489), Lukas Heppler (8.516) and the Swiss squad (8.828) mounted their assault on the leader board, amassing 25.833 points. Their intricate, dynamic transitions not enough to stop team Germany from taking the top step on the podium, the Swiss finishing in silver medal position.
Team Austria took third place in the FEI Nations Team Vaulting Championship. Katharina Luschin, Lisa Wild and the squad from Wildegg (25.371) fought off tough competition from the Italian team who finished in fourth on 25.065.
Earlier in the day the non-nations individual female and male competitors performed their first round freestyle routines. The competition got off to an explosive start, captivating the Tryon audience from the get go.
In the female category Sheena Bendixen of Denmark reasserted her dominance as a medal contender, following-up from her outstanding initial compulsory round to lead the non-nations individual competitors, with a freestyle score of 8.539.
Powerful and explosive, she maintained her position against her closest competitor Janika Derks of Germany finishing with 8.415. The score achieved by Sheena was the highest individual female score of the day and will be crucial as we look towards the latter rounds.
In a hugely disappointing turn of events Austria’s Daniela Fritz had to retire midway through her freestyle after incurring an injury to her knee, Daniela had been lying in third place position after compulsories.
In the non-nations individual male category competitors hit unbelievable form, peaking at the perfect moment. Germany’s Thomas Brüsewitz posted the highest freestyle score of 8.987 – 0.001 ahead of that achieved by Germany’s Jannik Heiland) in the Nations Team Championship. On his coattails; Jannis Drewell, also of Germany, earned an 8.921 and Lambert Leclezio, of France, scored 8.832.
There is a hair’s breadth separating our top competitors. On Sept. 20, the second round of the individual competition will resume as normal as the top 15 female and male competitors aim for a strong technical test showing.
In the Pas De Deux category never have we had such an intense first round battle, as pairing’s went out all guns blazing. At the conclusion of the first round the top three partnerships all sit on a score in excess of 9.
At the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, only Jasmin Lindner and Lukas Wacha of Austria scored over 9 and they walked away world champions. The scores that were awarded today were testament to the calibre, athleticism and evolution of vaulting.
Leading the outstanding pack at the close of day one, Pas de Deux legends and defending FEI World Equestrian Games champions, Austria’s Jasmin Lindner and Lukas Wacha. The pairing who have been so dominant in this competition—unbeaten at championships since 2012—returned to the stage after missing the FEI Europeans last year when Wacha was injured.
There was no ring rust, they were breath-taking, lyrical and exuded experience to prevail in the most competitive of classes. Alongside Dr Doolittle and lunger Klaus Haidacher, they currently sit marginally above the pack on 9.138.
With only 0.001 separating second and third, it is currently the Italian pairing of Silvia Stopazzini and Lorenzo Lupacchini who occupy the silver medal position (9.057). They were the first to enter the world-class arena here in Tryon, setting the tone for what would be a thrilling first round.
Alongside Rosentolz and lunger Laura Carnabucci, the Italian pairing only narrowly push Germany’s Janika Derks and Johannes Kay into third place (9.056). The highly decorated partnership were both members of Team Germany who won squad gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games four years ago. Once again showing their class and expertise, their gravity defying signature final lift on Dark Beluga with Barbara Rosiny, left the audience in sheer awe.
Testament to the quality of the competition, on any other day the score of 8.706 posted by Torben Jacobs and Theresa-Sophie Bresch of Germany would be enough to sit as overnight leaders. They currently sit in fourth and will be back to fight it out for the Pas De Deux medals tomorrow.
For full results from the FEI World Equestrian Games, click here.
For everything you need to know, including broadcast schedules, click here.
For all WEG coverage, click here.
We’ll be onsite for the full two weeks of WEG to bring you all the news you need to know plus gorgeous photos and insight into the competition. Be sure to check out the Oct. 8 issue of the Chronicle for detailed analysis.