Thursday, October 7, 2010

WEG Show Jumping: Finals: German Team Unbeatable In Show Jumping World Championships, Presented by Rolex

October 6, 2010

Lexington, Ky. — Germany was nearly perfect tonight in the Show Jumping World Championships, presented by Rolex, and they rode off with the team gold medal (17.8 faults). France jumped up to the silver medal (24.32), and Belgium climbed up to the bronze medal (24.7) at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Ten teams moved forward to tonight’s final round under the lights of the Rolex Stadium, after jumping a speed round on Monday and then nearly the same course as tonight on Tuesday to narrow the field down from the original 27 teams.  France entered the final round poised in fifth place, while Belgium stood eighth.

Germany had not won the World Championship since 1998.

“Twelve years is a long time ago, and there have been exciting years since then,” said Otto Becker, the German chef d’equipe, dryly. “All the riders and all the grooms, and the whole German federation, is fantastic to work with, and tonight’s victory is the result.”

This was the first time a German championship team has ever include two women, and tonight both Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, on Checkmate, and Janne-Fredericke Meyer, on Cellegon Lambrasco, jumped faultlessly. Carsten-Otto Nagel contributed the third faultless round, on Corradina, taking all the pressure off fourth rider Marcus Ehning, who lowered one rail on Plot Blue.

“It was a very brave decision to put two women on the team for the first time, but in the end I trusted them, and they paid everything back,” said Becker.

“We made history tonight,” said Michaels-Beerbaum, 40, who was the first woman ever to ride on a German team, at the 1999 European Championships, a year after her husband, Markus Beerbaum, rode on the 1998 gold-medal team. “This is also the first time a German team has ever included a mother,” added Michaels-Beerbaum, whose infant daughter is here at the World Games.

Meyer was savoring her first team medal. “For me, this is unbelievable. Meredith and Marcus are idols to me. I need lots of beer and wine tonight to celebrate, and I will have a really bad day tomorrow,” she said. 

The French and Belgian riders said they had not expected to stand on the medal podium in the Rolex Arena tonight.

French anchor rider Kevin Staut contributed faultless rounds yesterday and tonight, but he lowered one rail and finished in a slow time on Monday. “I was so angry at myself to ride so badly in the speed class, so I knew I had to fight for the team after that. The first day was completely a disaster, and to have a medal after that is great for everyone,” he said.

Belgium was eighth entering the final round, but only 4.9 faults behind the leading Germans. Still, chef d’equipe Philippe Guerdat wasn’t optimistic. “We didn’t expect to take a medal. We had only hoped to make the final on Monday,” he said.

The other the top 10 teams were: 4. Brazil (26.49), 5. Canada (27.93), 6.  Sweden  (32.18),  7. Australia (33.87), 8. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (35.48),  9. Great Britain (37.80), 10. USA (38.69).

The top 30 riders from these three team rounds will move forward to the fourth individual qualifying round on Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. From there, the top four riders will switch horses in the individual final on Saturday night. All four German riders will move forward to Friday night, as will all four French riders.

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