On the gripping final day of the FEI Eventing World Championship 2022 Team Germany reigned supreme while Great Britain’s Yasmin Ingham produced another stunning performance from her 11-year-old gelding Banzai du Loir to take the individual title ahead of Germany’s Julia Krajewski in silver and New Zealand’s Tim Price in bronze.
A total of 68 horse-and-rider combinations started out over Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani’s 13-fence jumping track, and it would have a significant influence when only 12 returned without penalties. It seemed that individual gold was destined to land with Germany’s Michael Jung for the second time in this phenomenal athlete’s career. But having led through the first two phases he had to settle for fifth in the final analysis when leaving the first element of the bogey double at fence 11 on the floor along with the final planks.
His finishing score of 26.8 would still count towards the German winning total of 95.2 however when both reigning individual Olympic champion Julia Krajewski (Amande de B’Neville) and Christoph Wahler (Carjatan S) jumped clear, discarding the uncharacteristic 12 faults collected by 2014 world champion Sandra Auffarth (Viamant du Matz).
As the day began Team USA’s Tamra Smith (Mai Baum), Boyd Martin (Tsetserleg TSF), William Coleman (Off the Record) and Lauren Nicholson (Vermiculus) were already lying in silver medal spot after a great cross-country run yesterday while the dressage leaders from Great Britain were in bronze.
But British luck didn’t hold, and although the swings of fortunes saw them temporarily moving upward this afternoon they were overtaken by New Zealand at the end of the day and had to settle for fourth. Kiwi husband-and-wife Tim and Jonelle Price (Falco and McClaren) both put on spectacular showjumping performances and Monica Spencer (Artist) made the incredibly long trip from the southern hemisphere well worthwhile when joining Clarke Johnstone (Menlo Park) on the third step of the podium.
There were seven qualifying spots for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games up for grabs and Germany, USA, New Zealand and Britain now have those booked along with Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland who filled the next three places.
Third team title
This is Germany’s third team title in the 15 editions of the FEI Eventing World Championship. They first won on home ground in Aachen in 2006 and did it again at Caen in Normandy, France in 2014 with Auffarth and Jung also on that side.
For Jung this was a day of mixed emotions.
“To lose and win at the same time is a strange feeling to be honest! But I’m very happy, it was a great day, my horse jumped amazing, he was in super form, all of us were in good form and I just want to thank all our team behind us who help us come here and have a good performance all week and to win the gold medal with the whole team is amazing!” he said.
Auffarth said she found the closing stages really exciting. “It was cool for everyone to watch because it was so up and down for all the teams. I did not have the best round, I have a really good showjumper but today he was a bit not concentrated and impressed by the atmosphere so after that we were fighting, but we were very happy in the end that we made it!” she pointed out.
Krajewski’s copybook clear with her lovely mare helped clinch it and it gave her enormous satisfaction. “She jumped her socks off! My goal was to finish on my dressage score and I did. I knew she could jump clear but you really had to get it together today because that was a tough course,” she said, knowing she also had individual silver in the bag.
The Americans haven’t been on the world championship team podium since posting their second victory in the history of the event in 2002 so today’s success was very significant.
As Boyd Martin said, “for us to have five clear rounds in the cross-country yesterday was awesome. I’ve been on many of these championship teams and it was so close over and over again today so it’s a massive sigh of relief!”
Two fences down proved costly for Tamra Smith who dropped from individual bronze to ninth place but she was still happy with her result and with the USA’s finishing spot. “We came here to do our best and we all knew potentially we could medal but we are pleasantly surprised. Looking at the results and we are less than 0.4 from third, and it just shows the quality of the field – I’m honoured to be here,” she said.
The last time the Kiwis won a world team medal was bronze in Kentucky in 2010, so today’s medal-placing was a big moment for them too. And for Tim Price to also clinch individual bronze was a very big moment.
“This is not a position we’ve been used to in some time”, he said. “Andrew Nicholson came over and said you guys have waited long enough for that – well done! It’s amazing, we’ve had a great week, all very solid, and what a finish!” And he was very proud of his horse, Falco. “We’ve had faith in him from the start, he always been an out-and-out jumper but to get into Sunday and use that in the best way is just incredible. We worked so hard for this, we focused on it for years, this kind of major event with the team behind us and the nation behind us it means everything!”
Meanwhile individual gold medallist Yasmin Ingham reflected on her incredible achievement on her championship debut. “I’m so proud to win this for Great Britain but I’m also proud to do this for the Isle of Man!”, she said today. She was born and reared on the little island that lies between England and Ireland and which covers an area of just 572 square kilometres with a population of 85,000.
She enjoyed a hugely successful career at youth level and was crowned Sportswoman of the Year on the Isle of Man in 2013 after winning team and individual gold at the Pony European Championship in Arezzo, Italy and in 2018 she posted her first top-ten placing in a CCI4*L U25 at Bramham. She was awarded the Godman Cup that year for the most points gained by a British rider in eventing aged 21 and under. She won Blenheim last year and was second in Kentucky earlier this year with Banzai. She’s only 25 and the rider who is based with Sue Davies and Janette Chinn in Cheshire, England already has the world at her feet.
“It was amazing to be given the opportunity to compete here along with a British team who are seasoned pros so I’ve learned a lot. The support team have been fantastic and a huge thank you to them. Banzai is s the best horse I’ve ever sat on and I don’t think I’ll ever sit on a horse like him again. He is incredible in dressage, he has so much presence, he’s fast on the cross-country, he’s agile, he’s brave and then coming into the showjumping today he showed everyone that he was jumping a clear round and there was no two ways about it! I wouldn’t want to be sat on any other horse,” she said.