It’s Golden Glory for Workforce Sweden As soon as Once more

Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, Jens Fredricson, Chef d’Equipe Henrik Ankarcrona, Wilma Hellström, and Henrik von Eckermann. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

Historical past was made when Workforce Sweden clinched gold for the very first time on the FEI Leaping European Championship 2023 in Milan (ITA). The nation that already holds each the Olympic and World staff titles proved that, on the subject of staying the space, they merely don’t have any match proper now.

They began the medal-decider trailing Germany and simply forward of the defending champions from Switzerland. However on a day stuffed with surprises, it was Workforce Eire that settled comfortably into silver medal spot whereas Workforce Austria took the bronze.

Because the motion started, solely fractions separated the main pack, however when Henrik Ankarcrona’s Swedish aspect added nothing to finish on a complete of 9.51 penalties for the win, they have been nicely away from the Irish on a last tally of 18.00 and the Austrians who completed with 22.77 on the board.

No-one may have predicted that Germany would lose the pathfinding partnership of Marcus Ehning and Stargold which might at all times go away them weak, or that the Swiss, who’ve been all however unbeatable this 12 months, would end sixth behind Spain.

However anybody who has adopted the trail taken by the Swedes lately would know {that a} staff consisting of Henrik von Eckermann and Iliana, Wilma Hellström and Cicci BJN, Jens Fredricson and Markan Cosmopolit, and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson with Zuccero can be tough to overturn.

As Fredricson, who goes into Sunday’s particular person medal-decider nonetheless out in entrance after three robust days of sport, stated, there was by no means any dialogue concerning the Swedish mission coming to Milan. “We got here right here to take the gold medal; that was at all times the plan, and sitting right here now’s simply fantastic! We all know how this will go, with many ups and downs, and we’re actually tremendous pleased with the entire thing!”


There was a little bit of a shockwave when the last-minute information got here via that Ehning wouldn’t compete as a result of he felt his stallion wasn’t fairly proper.

“I don’t know what occurred actually. We acquired prepared for the category, and I don’t know if he heard one thing, however he almost flipped over within the field, and I don’t know if he over-reached a muscle or no matter. After I acquired on, he wasn’t lame, however he doesn’t need to open up his again or stretch, and I didn’t have the sensation that he was regular,” the a number of champion defined.

So when Philipp Weishaupt’s Zineday knocked the oxer at fence two, Jana Wargers and Limbridge double-faulted, and Gerrit Nieberg got here house with one down, the German whole of 25.31 would depart them simply off the rostrum in fourth place.

In the meantime, solely Steve Guerdat and Dynamix de Belheme lived as much as expectations on the Swiss aspect who had so as to add 16 to their scoreline. However the Austrians, sixth in a single day, rocketed up the leaderboard when Gerfried Puck and Equitron Naxcel V got here house with simply two time penalties, Max Kuhner and Elektric Blue P jumped clear, and Alessandra Reich and Oeli R lowered solely the tough water-tray vertical at fence six that proved a little bit of a bogey all day. That meant they may drop the 12 racked up by Katharine Rhomberg and Cuma 5.

The Irish opened up with one other fabulous clear from Michael Duffy and the 14-year-old mare Cinca. Though that they had so as to add eight to the scoreline when Trevor Breen and Highland President, Shane Sweetnam and James Kann Cruz, and Eoin McMahon and Mila all returned four-fault outcomes, they reaped the advantage of an excellent run earlier within the week that had left them stalking the main pack and able to pounce if their rivals confirmed any weak spot.

It was three traditional clears that clinched it for Sweden, Henrik von Eckermann offering their solely mistake of the day, when hitting the final in his pathfinding spherical. Irritated with himself, he defined, “I acquired the six (strides) good, however I didn’t sit up sufficient. I adopted together with her and I used to be via the end line in my thoughts earlier than I used to be over the end line!” However the double world champion and world primary rider didn’t want to fret. His team-mates would wrap it up very properly certainly, Hellström confidently bringing her one-eyed wonder-mare house with out incident, and Fredricson doing likewise together with his 12-year-old gelding.

Bengtsson already knew he had a gold medal round his neck earlier than he set off, and he stated that was a really good feeling. His foot-perfect run was simply the icing on the cake, making certain the space between gold and silver was as extensive as doable.

Good to be again

“For me, it’s very good to be again once more within the staff!” Bengtsson stated. “I’ve been on the aspect for some time, however that was additionally an attention-grabbing place to have. Now I’ve a extremely good horse once more and to get a medal right here as we speak… it was 22 years in the past I had my first one, so thanks guys! The staff spirit we’ve got is one thing essential and really particular. We all know one another very nicely and that helps. We are able to discuss to one another in no matter language, and no person takes it badly for those who inform them straight what you imply.”

Hellström identified that “there’s a cause why Sweden has been so profitable…. t’s not solely the driving; it’s the total plan and the organisation round us and the respect everybody has for one another.”

Von Eckermann was delighted so as to add one more championship medal to his already very in depth assortment. “I actually needed the gold for the final staff medal in my pocket, so I’m joyful the fellows helped me with that!” he stated.

Fredricson stated ahead planning is the recipe for Swedish success. “I’ve a really early plan for my horse. In November I knew what I needed to do. I did Rome, La Baule, Aachen – all implausible exhibits – and I knew I used to be going to have my horse in the most effective type now. When you don’t know that and you’re choosing the staff within the final month… I believe that’s what we do proper,” he identified.


In distinction, the Irish needed to make some very late adjustments to their aspect main into the championship

“However the factor we’re most happy with is no matter adjustments we’ve got to make we’ve got in extra of 30 riders competing in 5-Star Nations Cups this 12 months, and I believe that’s an exceptional determine!” stated Chef d’Equipe Michael Blake. “I’m so proud to be concerned with people who find themselves that good and love the game that a lot. They put the nation first they usually make my job simple,” he added.

There was no hiding the shock and delight on the faces of the Austrian bronze medallists. As their Chef d’Equipe Angelika Might stated with amusing, “If there had been a guess on Austria, I believe you’d have made a fortune!”

However they earned their place truthful and sq., on high of Olympic qualification together with Spain and Switzerland.

“We got here right here for the Olympic ticket, and we might have been super-happy with that!” stated Katharina Rhomberg. Workforce-mate Max Kuhner stated they wish to construct on this outcome now. “I hope it should additionally carry some assist for the long run for the nation, like these huge horse nations, to get extra house owners, to get extra horse energy, to get extra ambition for the entire sport. The Olympic qualification might be the most effective factor to make this occur. It was a implausible feeling with a terrific staff. We had a extremely good time right here collectively, supported one another, and it makes me very joyful!” he stated.

11 out of 10

Speaking about his horse Markan Cosmopolit, Sweden’s Fredricson stated that his leaping spherical “wasn’t a ten out of 10; it was an 11 out of 10!” and he mirrored on how his victory happened.

“You attempt to do your greatest and you are able to do nothing concerning the different riders – in the event that they have been higher than us, then they might have received, however this time we have been the most effective. The one factor you may concentrate on is your personal factor. All the time in championships there are unpredictable issues occurring!” he identified.

All 4 Swedes now go into the person finale inside the highest 18, with Fredricson in pole place forward of Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat in second and Eire’s younger star Michael Duffy in third, forward of Frenchman Olivier Perreau in fourth. There’s lower than a fence between the highest 5 and fewer than two between the highest 11, so there’s no room for error, which guarantees yet another day of spectacular sport.

However for now, it’s Swedish occasion time, as they have a good time their first staff title within the 66-year historical past of the FEI Leaping European Championship.

Outcomes right here.

by Louise Parkes

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