Germany was nearly perfect tonight in the Show Jumping World Championships, presented by Rolex, and they rode off with the team gold medal (17.8 faults). France jumped up to the silver medal (24.32), and Belgium climbed up to the bronze medal (24.7) at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Ten teams moved forward to tonight’s final round under the lights of the Rolex Stadium, after jumping a speed round on Monday and then nearly the same course as tonight on Tuesday to narrow the field down from the original 27 teams. France entered the final round poised in fifth place, while Belgium stood eighth.
Germany had not won the World Championship since 1998.
“Twelve years is a long time ago, and there have been exciting years since then,” said Otto Becker, the German chef d’equipe, dryly. “All the riders and all the grooms, and the whole German federation, is fantastic to work with, and tonight’s victory is the result.”
This was the first time a German championship team has ever include two women, and tonight both Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, on Checkmate, and Janne-Fredericke Meyer, on Cellegon Lambrasco, jumped faultlessly. Carsten-Otto Nagel contributed the third faultless round, on Corradina, taking all the pressure off fourth rider Marcus Ehning, who lowered one rail on Plot Blue.
“It was a very brave decision to put two women on the team for the first time, but in the end I trusted them, and they paid everything back,” said Becker. “We made history tonight,” said Michaels-Beerbaum, 40, who was the first woman ever to ride on a German team, at the 1999 European Championships, a year after her husband, Markus Beerbaum, rode on the 1998 gold-medal team. “This is also the firs also the first time a German team has ever included a mother,” added Michaels-Beerbaum, whose infant daughter is here at the World Games.
Meyer was savoring her first team medal. “For me, this is unbelievable. Meredith and Marcus are idols to me. I need lots of beer and wine tonight to celebrate, and I will have a really bad day tomorrow,” she said.
The French and Belgian riders said they had not expected to stand on the medal podium in the Rolex Arena tonight.
French anchor rider Kevin Staut contributed faultless rounds yesterday and tonight, but he lowered one rail and finished in a slow time on Monday. “I was so angry at myself to ride so badly in the speed class, so I knew I had to fight for the team after that. The first day was completely a disaster, and to have a medal after that is great for everyone,” he said.
Belgium was eighth entering the final round, but only 4.9 faults behind the leading Germans. Still, chef d’equipe Philippe Guerdat wasn’t optimistic. “We didn’t expect to take a medal. We had only hoped to make the final on Monday,” he said.
The other the top 10 teams were: 4. Brazil (26.49), 5. Canada (27.93), 6. Sweden (32.18), 7. Australia (33.87), 8. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (35.48), 9. Great Britain (37.80), 10. USA (38.69).
The top 30 riders from these three team rounds will move forward to the fourth individual qualifying round on Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. From there, the top four riders will switch horses in the individual final on Saturday night. All four German riders will move forward to Friday night, as will all four French riders.
About the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are the world championships of eight equestrian disciplines recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). The Games are held every four years and this will be the first occurrence in the United States. Tickets to the 2010 Games are still available and can be purchased at www.alltechfeigames.com/tickets, at www.ticketmaster.com, through the Ticketmaster hotline at 1-800-745-3000, or at your local Ticketmaster outlet.
The Games are being broadcast on NBC Sports, which marks the largest commitment to network coverage of equestrian sport in U.S. television history. The 2010 Games are expected to have a statewide economic impact of $167 million, and current sponsors include Alltech, Rolex, John Deere, Ariat International, Inc., Meydan, Kentucky Ale, and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. For more information on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games please visit, www.alltechfeigames.com.
Amy Walker Public Relations Coordinator Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 859-281-7940 firstname.lastname@example.org
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