Written by Joanne Eccles
It was goosebumps galore today in the finals of the Mustang FEI Vaulting World Championships 2022 in Herning (DEN). Double gold for France in the Individual categories and a repeat success for the team from Germany matching their 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ gold medal in the squad competition.
Things started to heat up as Kimberly Palmer entered the Boxen arena. Her portrayal of Tonya Harding earned a score of 8.701 and an overall fifth place finish for the USA native. With tensions running high, Averill Saunders (CAN) slipped off the horse and dropped out of medal contention allowing Sheena Bendixen to rise to the occasion and win the bronze medal for the home nation (8.511). The silver went to Germany’s Julia Sophie Wagner, competing with her Mum on the end of the lunge she kept a cool head in her first major final (8.529). It had been nineteen years since any female medal went home to France and even then, it was the bronze, but history was made today by Manon Moutinho, 9.296 for her final free test, a step above the rest winning the gold medal on a final score of 8.963. “I’m really happy for my country, it’s good to show that French girls can do it too.”
In a class of his own Lambert Leclezio (FRA) won his fourth World title, once again breaking records with a combined score of 9.399 he described this as his best World Championship win. He will retire after the Nations team final.
Continuing the success for France, Quentin Jabet took the silver medal on 8.837. His horse, Ronaldo 200, briefly dropped into trot right before the end of his test however he stood firm and finished off what was an incredible programme. Jannik Heiland, (GER) steady, soft and strong aboard Dark Beluga completed the Men’s podium (8.833).
A technical problem with the computer gave Sam dos Santos (NED) a tortuous wait in the arena for his music. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to unnerve him, but he couldn’t quite hold on to his overnight third, he finished the competition in fifth, 8.720, an impressive feat at a mere sixteen years of age.
With three medals already firmly around French necks, the squad final got underway. The atmosphere building in the arena proved too much for the Austrian team horse leaving Switzerland free to collect the bronze medal (8.279). Team Germany was second to last to compete performing almost flawlessly on top of Calidor 10, Patric Looser working hard from the center. It was a big score, 9.063, and a tough act to follow for the already well decorated French vaulters. A few small errors were all that made the difference and gave the final gold of the day to the Germans (8.614) marginally ahead of France (8.549).
Two gold medals remain to be won on Wednesday. First, we will see the completion of the Pas de Deux class and a high probability of a German top two, the third place remains quite open.
Finishing third in the squad freestyle round and fourth overall Denmark has high hopes for the Nations team competition where we will see two individuals and one squad from the top eight nations battle it out for the final medal. It will be a Germany vs France showdown to top the medal table.
Full results can be found HERE.