Sweden Clinches Gold at the European Championship

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Austria and Ireland Secure Podium Spots in Thrilling Equestrian Championship

Milan, September 1, 2023 – The San Siro Hippodrome in Milan transformed into a stage of incredible emotions this afternoon as it hosted the team finals and the third individual qualification round of the 2023 European Championship. This exceptional event provided an extraordinary display of athleticism, elegance, and determination that will be hard to forget.

A total of 55 horse-rider pairs entered the field to tackle the course designed by course designer Uliano Vezzani: a round with jumps at 1.60 meters, which proved more challenging in terms of jump height rather than technicality, as many riders confirmed. From the outset, key points of the course included the triple combination, oxer number 6 after the double, and the first oxer in the final line.

With only 11 clear rounds in the entire category, three of which were achieved by riders from the gold medal-winning team, Sweden demonstrated that they were on a different level with their performances.

Except for an unfortunate 4 faults by Henrik von Eckermann riding Iliana, Jens Fredricson on Markan Cosmopolit, Wilma Hellström on Cicci BJN, and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson riding Zuccero completed the round with three splendid clear rounds. The team secured victory with an overall score of 9.51.

Ireland also showcased their talent, earning the second-place position and the silver medal with a total of 18 points. The Irish team, composed of Michael Duffy on Cinca 3 (0), Trevor Breen on Highland President (4), Shane Sweetnam with James Kann Cruz (4), and Eoin McMahon on Mila (4), managed to move from fourth place in the provisional rankings yesterday to second today.

But it didn’t end there; Austria, which yesterday closed the top five, moved up to third place, winning the bronze medal. The team finished this third and final round with a total score of 22.77, once again demonstrating the skill of its riders. The team members included Gerfried Puck on Equitron Naxcel V (2), Katharina Rhomberg on Cuma 5 (12), Max Kühner with Elektric Blue P (0), and Alessandra Reich on Oeli R (4).

However, it wasn’t just the awards and medals that made this event memorable. The atmosphere and energy at the San Siro Hippodrome were palpable, with Italian spectators and fans from all over Europe cheering for these incredible athletes and their magnificent horses throughout the competition.

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The podium of Team Final European Championship 2023

Olympic Passes

It’s worth noting that at these European Championships in San Siro, three valuable Olympic passes were at stake and were awarded to Austria, Switzerland, and Spain. These teams will have the honor of representing their respective nations at the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics.

With today’s performance, Italy’s hope of qualifying for the Olympic Games here in Milan was dashed. Unfortunately, the Italian team’s performances were not at their best, and they finished tenth after the elimination of Emanuele Gaudiano riding Crack Balou, the 5 penalties of Alberto Zorzi on Highlight W, undoubtedly the best-performing Italian on the field today, the 2 faults of Emanuele Camilli on Odense Odeveld, and the 9 penalties of Giampiero Garofalo and Max van Lentz Schrans. Now, the last chance for the Italians is the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, scheduled from September 28 to October 1.

Despite the challenges and difficulties, the 2023 European Championships in Milan will remain etched in history as a triumph of Show Jumping. They transcended mere sporting results, evoking emotions such as passion, pride, and admiration for this sport, which is not just a sport but an art.

Title: Sweden Clinches Gold, Austria and Ireland Secure Podium Spots in Thrilling Equestrian Championship

Sweden’s Success Story: Sweden’s equestrian team, led by their exceptional riders, managed to clinch the gold medal, showcasing their prowess in the sport. The team’s chef d’équipe Henrik Ankarcrona , expressed his immense pride in the team’s performance, which exceeded their expectations. The Swedes demonstrated remarkable consistency, with all four riders finishing within the top 25 individually, promising a bright future for the sport in Sweden.

Ireland’s Remarkable Journey: Ireland’s equestrian team celebrated their hard-earned bronze medal, despite facing numerous challenges and making several team changes. Chef d’équipe Michael Blake highlighted the remarkable depth of talent in Ireland, with over 30 riders participating in various competitions throughout the year. This dedication and unity among Irish riders played a crucial role in securing their spot on the podium.

Duffy from Ireland had an extraordinary week and found himself among the top contenders in the individual rankings. His performance demonstrated the depth of talent in his equestrian lineage, with a family tradition steeped in the sport.

Shane Sweetnam, another Irish rider, celebrated his second medal, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and the bright future for Irish equestrianism. Trevor Breen, who rode a homebred horse to victory, praised the team’s spirit and his fellow riders’ dedication. Eoin Mcmahon, who competed on a horse formerly ridden Ludger Beerbaum , expressed his happiness at the unexpected opportunity to participate in the championship.

Austria’s Triumphant Return: Austria’s equestrian team made a triumphant return to the championship podium after a long hiatus, securing the silver medal. Their chef d’équipe, Angelika May, credited their success to teamwork, camaraderie, and good vibes. This achievement marked a significant milestone for Austria in its quest to strengthen its presence in the equestrian world.

Acknowledgments and Gratitude: The teams extended their gratitude to the championship’s organizing committee, course designers, and the FEI for their support and efforts in making the event possible. The equestrian community came together to celebrate the remarkable achievements and showcased the strength of unity and sportsmanship.

As the championship continues, these victories will serve as a testament to the dedication and skill of equestrian athletes worldwide. The riders will look forward to more thrilling competitions and further success in their equestrian careers, both individually and as teams.

Some impressions from today’s press conference

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Press conference at European Championship

According to some records, Austria has not been on a championship podium since 1992

Initially we started the day with a very different order, then how it ended, Sweden has now added team gold to World and Olympic gold, so you basically are masters of the universe.”

Jens Fredericson on Markan Cosmopolitan that is currently also in the lead in the individual standing: 

It’s amazing we have a great team we came here with a plan and that was to win a gold medal, and sitting here is just incredible, we all know how difficult it is with many ups and downs  and so we are really really happy, from the whole team.”

Michael Blake Ireland’s Chef D’equipe on Ireland’s silver medal win after two big changes in their team before coming to Milan:

“We have done two big changes in our team before coming here, but one thing we are most proud of is whether we make 2,3,4 or 5 changes we have a lot of strength in our country we have used inexpensive 30 riders this year on 5* Nation Cups this year, and I think that’s a phenomenal figure. I am proud to be involved with people this good and that love the sport so much and that really put the country first and for me that’s the most important matter”

Trevor Breen with Highland President competed in his first ever championship making this even more special:

“It is a very special week for me,  this is my championship at any level and it was a big thing for me to get the nod from Michael than I suppose it is even extra special to have a homebred horse here, from breeding a horse and bringing it all the way to a championship is pretty cool, and to be around a team like this with a chef  like Michael, we have great team spirit, we fought like hell and now we have a silver medal around our necks.”

Gerfred Puck one of the most experienced riders on the stage, jumped a clear round today marked by two time faults on his stallion Equitron Naxcel V;

“For me it is a very special day, Italy is like my second home country and Uliano Vezzani is my fan since many years, we started our careers together, me as a rider him as a course builder and Naxcel is also a homebred horse, he is a breeding stallion and he is really improving now, we have the Olympic qualification and we have a medal now.”

Valentina Sozzi

Foto (c) FEI

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