Vaulter Joanne Eccles wins senior female title at Le Mans

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Vaulter Joanne Eccles, has successfully defended her senior female European title at the European Championships in Le Mans, France (16-21 August).

Joanne, aged 22, from Tillicoultry in Scotland, retained the title that in 2009 made her the first British vaulter to win an FEI Vaulting Championship medal.

Her final score of 8.553, one of her highest scores this year, came just 0.02 ahead of Germany’s Sarah Kay, who finished on 8.533.

Joanne said: “It was really good in there. It was a pretty much almost perfect test and was really hard to judge what the score would be at the end.

“It’s been a tough few days but I’m absolutely ecstatic with the result. I’ve had to fight so hard for it.”

As well as taking the individual title, Joanne and her sister Hannah, aged 19, took silver in the pas de deux, with a final score of 8.411, just 0.008 behind the eventual Gold medallists, Germany (8.419).

Bronze went to Austria, who finished on 8.245.

The sisters, who are members of the Wee County Vaulting Group, competed in both sections on their horse W H Bentley and were lunged by their father John.

Chef d’equipe for the vaulting squad, Lucy Bell said: “There was a lot of pressure going into the arena today but as always brilliant performances were delivered on both counts.

“It’s a fantastic result for both Joanne and Hannah and for British vaulting.”