It’s been a thriller of an afternoon in the first part of the individual European Showjumping Championships final, with leader Martin Fuchs slipping back to fourth, Germany moving into the lead — and the sole Greek rider at her first championship going into bronze-medal position.
After the first round, in which course-designer Frank Rothenberger asked his most testing questions yet, the 25 starters were whittled down to the top 12, who will go on to contest the medals this afternoon.
With less than a pole separating the top seven combinations, any mistake was going to prove costly, and so it was; a late rail for Belgium’s Pieter Devos meant he dropped from third to fifth place, on 7.17 penalties. Shock of the day so far was perhaps provided by defending champion Martin Fuchs, whose nine-year-old gelding Leone Jei hit his first pole of the championship so far to drop to fourth.
The other major turn-up for the books was provided by Ioli Mytilineou, Greece’s sole representative at her first championships, on the 10-year-old Levis De Muze, who jumped his and Ioli’s first five-star barely three months ago.
The pair jumped clear, crossing the finish line with just one time-fault to put them into the bronze medal position on 4.64, behind Peder Fredricson on Catch Me Not S, on 4.46, and leader Andre Thieme, on 2.84.
Ioli had said on the second day that just jumping clear once at her first championship was a dream come true.
“Even that was doing more than I’d ever imagined, and now he’s done more,” she said.
“There was a bit of rider error there for the time fault but I’m so happy with him. He’s extraordinary.”
Ioli, whose mother is English, is based near Lier in Belgium.
She said she “can’t get her head round” her championship so far.
“I tried not to think about that; just thought regardless of where I’m sitting, first or last, I just want to jump clear,” she said. “I felt weak today; all I was thinking going round was ‘Please don’t miss, please don’t miss!’ But I’m glad it worked out.”
Two Irish riders — Daniel Coyle on Legacy and Eoin McMahon on Chacon 2 — have also qualified for the European Showjumping Championships medal decider in the top 12 riders.
The next round starts at 4.15pm local time (3.15pm UK time) in reverse order of merit. Daniel is first to jump and Eoin third.
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