Sunday, October 10, 2010


Great Britain's Joanne Eccles and Switzerland's Patric Looser claimed the Female and Male Individual titles in the Vaulting Championship at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky, USA today.   Eccles earned the second-highest score in today's Freestyle with her 'Candle in the Wind' routine and this clinched the overall Female gold, having led after yesterday's Technical test.

Frenchman Nicolas Andreani won today's Male Freestyle, but Looser's spaceman routine kept him in top spot in the Male contest, while 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games champion Kai Vorberg from Germany had to settle for silver this time around ahead of Andreani in bronze.  Looser was overwhelmed by his victory, "I can't tell you how I feel" he said during the emotionally-charged post competition press conference.  "Kai is my training partner and he has made me into what I am - I just tried to relax and to be clear in my Freestyle today, I can hardly believe this, it feels strange" he added.


Kai Vorberg recognised the significance of today's victory for his pupil Patric Looser. "Until today I won 12 medals in a row since 2003 but the wind of change is coming, I'm an old man now and I won't be continuing forever" said the 29 year old from Cologne.  Vorberg talked about his familiar "Wind of Change" routine which he said represented his feelings about the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the freedom that brought for many people in Germany.  In Looser he has helped create another wind of change, one that has swept the master aside and which has put Looser in the limelight.  "He's my friend, I'm his friend so I'm happy for him" Vorberg insisted.

Looser talked about his longeur, Alexandra Knauf. "We have a good relationship.  It has to be fun all the time including when we are training - we are friends also in our free time" he pointed out.


Eccles, who is studying dentistry at Glasgow University in Scotland, described the work that goes into perfecting her programe. "You have to practice a lot before taking the routine to the horse - get the position right and make sure it's safe and good for your horse.  We practice on a barrel, and also do floor exercises" she explained.  Her father, John, is her longeur and she said "we both have the same goals - he does his bit for me and I do my bit for him".  She is the reigning European Champion, and her father has a passionate interest in the sport.  After becoming a longeur he became a vaulting and gymnastics coach and eventually a vaulting judge, and he works closely with his daughter.

Eccles said today that she hopes that winning Great Britain's first-ever World Championship medal in vaulting will attract more young British people into the sport. 

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