Orifarm Healthcare FEI Para Dressage World Championship 2022 - Ones to Watch

Media updates
09 August 2022 Author: Robert Howell

Tobias Thorning Joergensen (DEN) will be the hot favourite to bring home the gold medals for the host team at this year’s Orifarm Healthcare FEI Para Dressage World Championship 2022 Herning, Denmark. If he does, the Grade III athlete will continue his habit of winning his debut global tournaments, having done so at his first European Championships in 2019, and his first Paralympic Games in 2021.

Tobias will face competition, however, from the likes of Great Britain’s Natasha Baker, the USA’s Rebecca Hart, and Canada’s Roberta Sheffield. Baker, the two-time double-Paralympic champion will be especially keen to break her World Championships jinx, it’s the only individual gold medal she is yet to win.

Herning will see 83 athletes from 28 different countries compete across five days of Individual, Team and Freestyle competition, starting on Wednesday 10 August. And in a sport which constantly grows in skill and achievement, the battle for the medals will be tougher than ever.

At last year’s delayed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the Grade I competition was dominated by the record breaking US athlete Roxanne Trunnell, riding Dolton. In Herning, however, Trunnell will be riding her new horse, Fortunato H20 and competition will again be fierce.

Italy’s Sara Morganti is the defending champion and often rises to the challenge of the big global stage, as does serial podium placer Laurentia Tan from Singapore and Norway’s Jens Lasser Dokkan, the current European Champion and the oldest competitor in the field. Look out too for Ireland’s Michael Murphy and the deejaying Latvian, Rihards Snikus, the current world number one in the Grade.

Grade II will see a new champion crowned, following the retirement of the current title holder, Stinna Tange (DEN). Great Britain’s Sir Lee Pearson, the current Paralympic champion and world number one will want to regain the title he last won in 2014.

The Grade is dominated historically by Pearson, Austria’s Pepo Puch, and Stinna. There are new faces to look out for too though, including another rising Danish athlete Katrine bjelke Kristensen. She made her major debut in Tokyo last year, and could benefit from the lift a home crowd gives any athlete. “I feel that the pressure is a bit higher this time,” she said, “especially to give a good result for the team test. But, in a good way, I feel much more grown up now (after Tokyo).”

Pearson’s team mate, Georgia Wilson, is also a podium prospect after her two bronze medals in Tokyo, and look out too for the USA’s rising star, Beatrice de Lavalette.

The Netherlands Sanne Voets and Brazil’s Rodolpho Riskalla will renew their rivalry in the Grade IV competition. Voets is looking to defend her two World Championship titles from Tryon (USA) in 2018 while the two-time world and one-time Paralympic silver medal winning Brazilian will be looking for his first major title.

The Dutch and Brazilian pair’s plans for glory could, however, be interrupted by Kate Shoemaker from the USA. She is the current world number two in the grade, between Voets and Riskalla, but has had a succession of rising scores coming into the competition on her new horse, Quiana.

Grade V has, for so long now, been dominated by the trio of Belgium’s reigning double Paralympic champion, Michele George, Great Britain’s reigning double World champion, Sophie Wells, and The Netherlands’ reigning double European champion Frank Hosmar. That, however, could change in Herning as World and Paralympic bronze medallist Regine Mispelkamp progresses up the rankings in the grade, as does George’s team mate, Kevin Van Ham.

The overall Team placings have extra weight this year, as the top seven ranked teams will be the first to book their place for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. The Netherlands are the defending champions and will want to avenge their close defeat by Great Britain at the Tokyo Games. However, a stronger Danish team could use its home advantage to take a spot too, while the USA will always be a threat. Germany can’t be underestimated either, and Belgium have a chance too.

Alongside the European and regular global teams, Herning will also welcome athletes from Greece, Mexico, Hong Kong, and the US Virgin Islands.

Competition starts with the Orifarm Healthcare FEI World Para Dressage Individual Championship presented by Elsass Fonden on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 August. The Orifarm Healthcare FEI World Para Dressage Team Championship presented by Pressalit takes place on Friday and Saturday 12 and 13 August, with the championship culminating in the Orifarm Healthcare FEI World Para Dressage Individual Freestyle Championship presented by Jysk on Sunday 14 August.