Britain’s Joanne Eccles has extended her lead in the female individual vaulting competition at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games after today’s technical test.

Joanne was “thrilled” with her performance to score 8.513 (above). This round of the contest involves demonstrating five particular moves, but in any order the vaulters choose and to music, in the style of a freestyle.

“That’s the best technical score I’ve had this year, if not ever,” said Joanne. “From the very first technical move, which for me is the outside stand, it felt really solid and from then on I had a really good feeling.

“I knew there were more British spectators in the crowd today, so I wanted to put on a good show for them. I tried to have a sneak peek at them at the start, then I took my time at the end to look around. We appreciate them coming to watch vaulting and supporting us.”

The vaulting medals will be decided tomorrow when Joanne and her fellow competitors will take part in one final freestyle. Vaulters use the same music as in yesterday’s freestyle, but can vary their moves and costume.

“But I’ll be attempting to do exactly the same as on Wednesday,” said Joanne.

Joanne’s younger sister Hannah was also pleased with her performance for a score of 7.449 and ninth in today’s test, although she said the forward roll and shoot-up mount (a movement where the vaulters go from the ground, through a shoulder stand to sitting on the horse’s neck facing backwards) could have been better.

“I’ve just changed my technical test back to one I did two years ago as I prefer this one,” she said. “I wanted to do the one I’m most comfortable with for this competition.”

Hannah performed to Muse’s Exogenesis: Symphony. She now lies in 10th place overall, up one spot from last night.

The third British competitor, Lucy Phillips, scored 7.163 for her technical test, for 12th place in this round and the same position in the main leader board.

“I did a new move for the first time in competition today, a straddle lever handstand,” she said. “I’ve been trying to do it since I was a gymnast at the age of five and this year is the first I’ve managed it.”

Lucy performed to Beethoven’s 5 Secrets, a piece based on Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, with her moves including miming playing the violin during her test.

“It’s calming music and I can do pretty arm movements to it,” she said. “Also there are five movements in the technical test so that fits in well.”

Behind Joanne, Italy’s Anna Cavallaro has moved up into provisional silver, having been fourth overnight but improved her position by finishing second in the technical round. Denmark’s Rikki Laumann, who won the first day’s compulsory test and was second overnight, now sits in third place overall after a less strong performance, including a messy dismount, left her fifth today.

Switzerland’s Simone Jäiser, who has held the bronze position until now, has slipped out of the medals and is currently fourth.

In the male technical test, Erik Oese of Germany, vaulting on Calvador 5, took top spot, followed by the home side’s Nicolas Andreani and Jacques Ferrari.

The pas de deux competition starts this evening and the Eccles sisters are competing in this.

Britain is not fielding a squad or any male individual vaulters. The squads do not compete today, but also have their final freestyle tomorrow, when the pas de deux also concludes.

Bluffers’ guide to vaulting

Vaulting times and results

More WEG news online all this week; report on the WEG vaulting in the H&H magazine out next Thursday, 11 September. 

Picture by Stephen Sparkes