At the end of an afternoon full of excitement and drama, the team gold of the 2007 FEI European Jumping Championship goes to The Netherlands, who have one more title to add to their world gold conquered in Aachen last year. It was the second round of the Nations Cup which was run on the same course as the first round except that fences 4, 5, 6b, 7, 11, 12a, 12c and 13 had been raised by 2 to 5cm and widened up to 10cm. With three clear rounds from Vincent Voorn on Audi’s Alpapillon-Armanie; Jeroen Dubbeldam on BMC Up and Down; and Albert Zoer on Okidoki – fourth team Gerco Schröder on Eurocommerce Berlin had two bars down – the Dutch team finish on their score from the first day (7.37).
“We were all fighting for the team,” Sydney Olympic medallist Jeroen Dubbeldam said. “The scores were very tight and we were under a lot of pressure.” It was a great beginning for newcomer Vincent Voorn, for whom this is the first championship on the Dutch team. “I’ve done a good year so far, not a great one but a good one. I’ve done several Samsung Super Leagues and for me it’s just an honour to be on the same team as the golden boys,” he explained.
This is the third European gold for The Netherlands exactly 30 years after their first title in Vienna in 1977 and the second one conquered at La Baule in 1991.
The silver medal goes to Germany, who despite two brilliant rounds from Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum on jumping machine Shutterfly and Ludger Beerbaum on Goldfever and one bar down from Christian Ahlmann on Cöster, had a nightmarish afternoon. Indeed, Marcus Ehning’s ride Küchengirl had a refusal at the first element of the triple combination (12a) for a third day in a row. “I don’t have an explanation for that and won’t have for a very long time,” a deeply disappointed Marcus said with tears in his eyes. “The silver was the maximum we could hope for under the circumstances and we’re proud of our medal,” the Beerbaum brother and sister-in-law declared.
The bronze medal goes to the British team ten years after their last European medal won also at Mannheim. “It is fantastic to be on a podium again,” chef d’équipe Derek Ricketts exclaimed. It was the perfect birthday present for team member David McPherson.
The results of the ten teams that took part in today’s competition are:
1. The Netherlands – 7.37
2. Germany – 9.18
3. Great Britain – 15.43
4. Switzerland – 18.13
5. Sweden – 19.65
6. Norway – 22.26
7. Italy – 24.53
8. Spain – 25.69
9. Ukraine – 25.96
10. Belgium – 26.45
The other big issue of the day was Olympic qualification. Three places for next year’s team competition in Hong Kong were to be filled. These dearly won slots go to Great Britain, Sweden and … Norway. So the 15 teams that will be competing for Olympic gold in Jumping in 2008 are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Norway, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the USA and host nation China / Hong Kong.
The individual medals will be decided on Sunday in the Grand Prix in which will take part the 25 best placed combinations.