WEG vaulting: Britain’s Joanne Eccles wins gold

  • Britain’s Joanne Eccles claimed the individual female vaulting gold medal today at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

    Lunged as usual on WH Bentley by her father John, Joanne successfully defended the title she won four years ago in Kentucky. Her performance this afternoon in the final freestyle was flawless for a score of 9.119, giving her an overall mark of 8.712.

    “To have done it again four years on is incredible,” said Joanne. “We were helped by the stunning arena. This is as close as we’ll get to a home games and we’ve had so much support — it’s been a pretty amazing four days.”

    John said: “‘Henry’ is a fantastic horse — he’s trustworthy and reliable. And the [pale] colour of the surface in this superb arena really set him off.”

    Joanne’s nearest rival after yesterday’s technical test, Italy’s Anna Cavallaro, held her place for silver, but Switzerland’s Simone Jäiser moved up from fourth to collect the bronze. Denmark’s Rikki Laumann, winner of the first day’s compulsory test finished fourth, just out of the medals.

    Britain’s other two vaulters improved their position in today’s freestyle. Joanne’s sister Hannah was happy to finish ninth from 10th overnight with a final score of 7.818, saying: “The atmosphere in there is insane — the crowd are electric and you try to feed off that for your performance. When you come to a WEG you want it to be special and this is very special for us.”

    Lucy Phillips moved up from 12th to 11th, finishing on 7.730.

    “It was my best round, which was good as it’s the final one — not much went wrong,” said Lucy.

    Lucy Phillips and her mother Elizabeth, WEG 2014Her mother, Elizabeth (right with Lucy), was lungeing Pitucelli for Lucy here for the first time at a World Championships.

    “I feel very nervous three hours before when I’m waiting, but once you put the tack on it’s inevitable,” said Elizabeth. “If you’re nervous the horse is nervous, so it has to be under control. I’m a big believer in Susan Jeffers’ book Feel the Fear… and Do it Anyway.”

    After the Eccles’ bronze in the pas de deux this morning, this concludes Britain’s vaulting medal haul. Although the male individual and the squad competitions are still to finish, Britain does not have any competitors in these classes.

    Video with the Eccles sisters after their bronze medal-winning pas de deux

    Bluffers’ guide to vaulting

    Vaulting times and results

    More updates from WEG online until Sunday; report on the vaulting in H&H magazine next week, out Thursday, 11 September.


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