All eyes on Paris: Swiss Olympic hopefuls dominate at home event

Felix Vogg, Nadja Minder, Robin Godel and Mélody Johner celebrate victory in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ in Avenches (SUI) 2024. © FEI/Martin Dokoupil

FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ 2024 – written by Eleanor Kelly

With the Paris Olympics just around the corner, Team Switzerland could prove a serious medal-contender if recent results are anything to go by. An experienced home-side took decisive win at the fourth leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ this week, with three of the four team members finishing in the top four of this CCIO4*-Nations Cup held in Avenches (SUI). Leading throughout the competition, their final score of 134.6 put them way out in front of Italy who finished on a score of 160.0 and Germany who were third with 231.9. 

The Swiss team was made up of three riders who competed in the last Olympics in Tokyo and are hopeful of representing their nation in Paris in just over a month’s time. Robin Godel’s fantastic partnership with his evergreen performer, Grandeur de Lully CH looked as strong as ever in Avenches. The pair finished in first place individually after riding one of the fastest cross-country rounds of the day, in a competition which saw no combinations go clear inside the time. Godel and the lovely Swiss-bred gelding have been a mainstay of the Swiss team and competed in a number of Nations Cup events with success. 

ROBIN GODEL of Switzerland on GRANDEUR DE LULLY competes in the cross-country to lead the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ of Switzerland in Avenches, Switzerland, June 8, 2024.
ROBIN GODEL of Switzerland on GRANDEUR DE LULLY competes in the cross-country to lead the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ of Switzerland in Avenches, Switzerland, June 8, 2024.

Speaking after the prize giving, Gödel summed up what it meant for them and the benefits that come with competing as a team in these competitions. “It is a wonderful result for the team and to win at home. It is very important to see how the team reacts and connects together. It was the last preparation for Paris and it is always beneficial for the team to perform together and a good preparation for the Games. It is also important for a championship where a team result counts. It is always a pleasure to compete in a Nations Cup.”

FELIX VOGG of Switzerland on DAO DE L'OCEAN competes in the cross-country to finish second after two disciplines in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ of Switzerland in Avenches, Switzerland, June 8, 2024.
FELIX VOGG of Switzerland on DAO DE L’OCEAN competes in the cross-country to finish second after two disciplines in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ of Switzerland in Avenches, Switzerland, June 8, 2024.

Godel was joined by his experienced Swiss teammate Felix Vogg on Dao de l’Ocean who finished second individually; together with Mélody Johner with her equine partner for Tokyo and the FEI World Championships in Pratoni, Toubleu de Rueire, who at seventeen years old looked as good as ever whilst contesting the undulating terrain of the cross-country course. The final rider hoping to head to Paris was Nadia Minder, riding the Polish bred gelding, Top Job’s Jalisco, who climbed the leaderboard from 26th after the dressage to 11th overall, after a positive cross-country performance. 

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MÉLODY JOHNER of Switzerland on TOUBLEU DE RUEIRE competes in the cross-country to finish fourth after two disciplines in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ of Switzerland in Avenches, Switzerland, June 8, 2024.
MÉLODY JOHNER of Switzerland on TOUBLEU DE RUEIRE competes in the cross-country to finish fourth after two disciplines in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ of Switzerland in Avenches, Switzerland, June 8, 2024.



The cross-country time proved the biggest challenge for most riders, explained Godel. “Nobody ended up the cross country in time. This cross is famous for turning a lot and we did not have a lot of long line to gallop and gain some time.  I was very happy with my horse because we have good consistency. For a few years we met some difficulties for the jumping, now it’s under control and it is from there we chaise some good results. We could see it today he did a lot of progress in this discipline. I am very happy because it was his last event before Paris. It was very close to my heart to perform well and achieve a good result to have confidence for this event.

“For me it is always a bit special because I feel at home. It is very different because a lot of close family came to support me. It is always a pleasure. Since the beginning of the international championship in Avenches we did not miss any championship. It is always a goal that I have in my schedule. Being able to win gives some great feelings.”

FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ of Switzerland, Avenches, Switzerland
Gold team Switzerland - FELIX VOGG, NADJA MINDER, ROBIN GODEL, MÉLODY JOHNER and Chef d’Equipe DOMINIK BURGER, silver Teal Italy - EMILIANO PORTALE, ROBERTO RIGANELLI and EVELINA BERTOLI and bronze Team Germany - ANNA HAAG, CARLA HANSER and AMELIE REISACHER stand on the podium after the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ of Switzerland in Avenches, Switzerland, June 9, 2024.
FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ of Switzerland, Avenches, Switzerland 
Gold team Switzerland – FELIX VOGG, NADJA MINDER, ROBIN GODEL, MÉLODY JOHNER and Chef d’Equipe DOMINIK BURGER, silver Teal Italy – EMILIANO PORTALE, ROBERTO RIGANELLI and EVELINA BERTOLI and bronze Team Germany – ANNA HAAG, CARLA HANSER and AMELIE REISACHER stand on the podium after the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ of Switzerland in Avenches, Switzerland, June 9, 2024.

There were just three teams competing at Avenches, a picturesque event held at the National Equestrian Institute (IENA). Italy, who claimed the final team ticket for Paris by being the highest place team in the Nations Cup Series, not already qualified, also sent an experienced team of riders who are vying for a place in Paris. Whilst Germany had just three riders looking to gain invaluable team experience. 

Switzerland and Italy are in joint first in the Nations Cup standings at this halfway point. Both nations have 180 points. The Series will now move to Strzegom in Poland later this month (20-23 June), for the fifth event in this eight-leg Series which concludes at Boekelo (NED) in October.  

FULL RESULTS

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