Wiegele And Looser Set The Standard In Vaulting World Championships at Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, Results, Vaulting, World Equestrian Games at 7:20 am by Press Release

Lexington, KY—Round 1 of the individual portion of the World Vaulting Championships concluded today, with the top 15 male and the top 15 female vaulters advancing to the second round of competition at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, with technical and freestyle programs yet to go.

Going into Round 2, Germany’s Simone Wiegele, a member of the gold-medal team in the 2006 World Games, leads the female division, and Switzerland’s Patrick Looser, an 18-time Swiss champion, leads the men’s division.

Vaulting combines gymnastic and dance elements, performed to music on a cantering horse. A longeur, who controls the horse, completes the three-way partnership, and harmony between all participants is imperative. In Thursday’s individual freestyle tests, which were limited to one minute, the vaulters chose their own music, which ranged from rock (“Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence) to classical Vivaldi.

Wiegele, 24, who entered the day in second place after Wednesday’s compulsory program, admitted to feeling some nerves as she began performing to an operatic score.

“At the beginning, it felt a little bit strange because of all the people and the great atmosphere and the big hall. It was a little bit scary,” she said. Her horse, 12-year-old Arkansas, gave her a good rhythmic canter, so she said her freestyle program “on him is really good.” Her cumulative score is 8.344.

Second in the cumulative female individual standings is Joanne Eccles of Great Britain (8.274). The remaining top-five vaulters are Antje Hill of Germany (8.121), Christa Kristofics-Binder of Austria (8.050) and Mary McCormick of the United States (8.050).

In the male division, some interesting themes took hold. Looser, 26, performed as an astronaut, complete with a NASA spacesuit, silver hair and silver gloves and shoes. His music was from the movie “Transformers.”

“It’s especially for here, for Kentucky,” he said. “I wanted something special to take all the people here to space and give a little bit of an American feeling back to the arena.”

Regarding his strong freestyle program, Looser said, “I [was] one of the first competitors in the field, and it’s very important that you make a clean performance, to make a bit of pressure on the others behind you. That was my goal today.”

He was vaulting aboard Record RS von der Wintermühle, an 18-year-old Hessian stallion, and his cumulative score from two days of competition is 8.524.

The other top-five male individual cumulative scores belong to Nicolas Andreani of France (8.405), Kai Vorberg of Germany (8.366), Gero Meyer of Germany (8.288) and Stefan Csandl of Austria (8.264).

The vaulting championships continue Friday with the technical program in Round 2 of individual competition and the team freestyle competition, which will complete the teams’ first round.

Judges are Suzanne Detol (USA), Jochen Schilffarth (GER), Erich Breiter (AUT), Martine Fournaise (FRA), Monika Eriksson (SWE), and Roland Boehlen (SUI).

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