Competition action ramps up on second day of Championships

Media updates
26 July 2023 Author: Joanne Littlejohn

It was an action packed second day of Vaulting at the FEI World Championship for Juniors and Young Vaulters and the FEI European Championship for Seniors. The pressure of top-level competition began to show through opening some gaps at the top of the tables.

Germany began by taking the male Young Vaulter class by storm.  Bela Lehnen produced an excellent set of exercises winning the test with 8.330 but he has some close competition from Austrian Philip Clement (8.207). Both males are almost guaranteed a medal as the third place competitior, German Philip Goroncy is some way behind at 7.500, with a lower horse score having a significant impact on his overall result.

Following the trend, Germany’s females also took first and third in their Young Vaulter class. The favourite, Alice Layher, is out in front with 8.247 and Annemie Szemes scored 7.758. It is Anna Weidenauer who splits the two and sits in between for Austria with 7.852 points. For Canadian Averill Saunders it was all going so well until she collapsed in the final element of her test and had to repeat it to gain a score. Even so she is not far from medal contention, currently in fifth position with 7.633 with an historically excellent technical programme still to perform.

The Senior squad compulsory test finished much as expected at the top.  Team Switzerland lead with 7.431 only marginally ahead of the German squad who produced a few errors and had to work with a slightly unsettled Calidor 10 (7.365). The squad from Sweden have given themselves a good chance of winning a medal at their home games with a third place in this round (6.736), however Denmark is biting at their heels in fourth place (6.614).

It was a dramatic affair in the female technical test, with many athletes failing to complete their performance within the time limit incurring a heavy penalty. Despite a solid test packed with difficulty, Germany’s Alina Ross could only manage a 7.868 from the judges and dropped to third place in the overall standings (8.104). A very clean and well executed round allowed Nadja Büttiker (SUI) to hop into second place overall (8.119) breaking up the German females but unable to reach the quality of Kathrin Meyer (GER) who showed real excellence. Gracefully floating through all the required elements, she was the only female to obtain over a score of eight, and moves ahead of the rest of the pack finishing round one with a promising 8.382.

In contrast with the females, the Senior males made few errors. Quentin Jabet entered the ring for France with finesse once again. At this point he seems uncatchable, completing the first round with a score of 8.705. Thomas Brüsewitz (GER) moved into second place after round one (8.410) with his test packed full of difficulty aboard Formel 1, who gained the top horse score of the male class. He snuck ahead of teammate Jannik Heiland, currently third with 8.296. Even with a small loss of balance in his backward stand, a creative performance from Theo Gardies (FRA) allowed him to score second in the technical test alone. He is creeping closer to a podium finish with just 0.012 standing between him and Jannik.

As the stakes rise so does the pressure for the competitors. Tomorrow will determine which Junior females make it into the final and there will be high emotion for all involved. They start a day full of free tests for Junior individuals and squads which will culminate in the much anticipated technical programme for the female Young Vaulters.

Photo: Quentin Jabet (FRA) and Ronaldo 200 in the FEI Vaulting European Championship 2023 - Flying (SWE) - Senior Individual Male Technical
Photo credit: ©FEI/Carolin Kowsky/Daniel Kaiser