There was a significant swing away from the traditional dominance of Turkey and Greece as the host nation and Slovenia made a big impact at the FEI Balkan Jumping Championships 2014 at Konjicki Klub Karoca in Zagreb, Croatia last weekend.
At the 2013 fixture on their home ground in Istanbul, Turkey claimed five of the seven titles on offer. But this time around only the Senior Team title remained in their grasp while the Greeks had to settle for a double in the Junior category.
The 2014 championships were held at the Hippodrome in Zagreb, attracting competitors from seven nations – Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey – and the four-day fixture ran from September 4 to 7.
There was a starting field of 33 horse-and-rider combinations in the Children’s first individual qualifier, and Romania’s Irina Mateescu, riding Lucy Liu, and Marco Alessandro Alfieri, partnering Pirella, placed first and third with Croatia’s Dunja Al Jamal and Gemilio LCS in runner-up spot here.
Al Jamal then joined Filip Jadrijevic (Castro), Eva Golubicek (Tara) and Josip Gugic (Coeur de Croatie) in a jump-off for the team title the following afternoon when Croatia and Turkey were tied on a four-fault result after two rounds. And Al Jamal’s horse never put a foot wrong, kicking off the decider with another lovely clear for the 13-year-old athlete who, last year, won the first qualifying competition before going on to help clinch team bronze in the Children’s event.
Jadrijevic was also a member of the 2013 Children’s bronze medal winning side, but the 14-year-old rider produced a 12-fault result in the first round of this year’s team event before recovering to register a second-round clear and then another foot-perfect run in the jump-off to boost Croatian chances. Third-line rider, Golubicek collected nine faults in the earlier rounds, and another four in the jump-off put all the pressure on Gugic.
Turkey’s Taha Yedikardes (Coolina) and Neslihan Esen (Admiral) each kept a clean sheet, but Dogasu Aksoy (Darelle van Bekenhof) didn’t compete in the third round after picking up 10 faults and when Aleyna Irten (Rose) had just a single fence down then Croatia’s Gugic could not afford a mistake. And he didn’t make one, steering the aptly-named 10-year-old Holsteiner Coeur de Croatie home to clinch the Children’s team title with another lovely clear performance.
Bronze went to the Greek team that included 2013 silver medallists Paola Martini (Cobbydor) and Anna-Sophia Danalis (Lili Marlen ll Ch) along with Maria-Erietta Katsou (Championess) and Selini Popp (Arabella ll). The Greeks finished on an eight-fault two-round total while Romania’s Irina Mateecu (Lucy Liu), Anne-Marie Blanca Bontea (Gloria), Adelina Adriana Rusu (Tsunami) and Marco Alessandro Alfieri (Pirella) just missed out on a podium placing when finishing on a total of 12 faults.
On Saturday, Croatia’s Gugic and Al Jamal brought the Children’s Championship to the perfect conclusion when taking gold and silver respectively. Gugic’s supremacy was never truly challenged as Coeur de Croatie jumped clear all week to leave his young rider on a zero score while Al Jamal collected just four faults for silver ahead of Selini Popp, who claimed individual bronze for Greece.
Individual Greek rider Leonidas Palegdas won the first Junior individual qualifier with Convertan ahead of Ema Bezik and Up to Date from Croatia, but it was third-placed Andreas Vardinogiannis and Zjohn G who would help Greece take the team title before going on to also clinch individual Junior gold.
The Greeks were convincing team champions when finishing on a zero score after double-clears from both Vardinogiannis and Zjohn G and Ioannis Marinakis riding Magic de France, and just four faults apiece from both George-Alexandros Amoutzas with Coco Lavoro and Marina Theofanopoulou (Oscar du Perron) which could be discounted in each round. This was a second team gold medal in a row for Theofanopoulou and her horse who also took individual Junior bronze at the FEI Balkan Jumping Championships 12 months ago.
There was a jump-off for silver when Turkey and Slovenia were tied on 12 faults after the first two rounds. Turkey came out on top when a last-to-go clear from Adrian Onur and WWW Molenheide NL meant the team could drop the six collected by Elif Ozsahin and Timberland and instead count just the single errors registered by pathfinder Asli Bulec with Carolus, and third-line rider Selim Can Guney with Calantus to finish on a total of eight faults.
Slovenia’s Nina Pangersic and Glorija picked up just four faults, but when Anze Sisernik and Quintano K added eight and then Tanit Baukman and Wait n See collected 12 there was no reason for the last-line partnership of Robert Kucer and Law in LA to take their turn because their result would not affect the medal positions. Slovenia still stood well clear of fourth-placed Romania when clinching the bronze, Romania’s Stefan Leonte (Ogica), Vlad Cocioba (Bacardi), Lisa Candin (Landfeuer) and Alexandra Mladin Bradisteanu (Cembalo ll) completing on a total of 33 faults.
Bradisteanu went on to clinch Romania’s only medal of the 2014 championships when steering Cembalo ll into individual bronze medal position behind Turkey’s Selim Can Guney and Calantus in silver. Vardinogiannis and Zjohn G clinched the gold when completing their championship outing on a perfect zero score.
Once again this year there were no Young Rider team medals awarded as only seven competed in this division including five athletes from Greece and one from Turkey. However it was the sole competitor from Slovenia who won individual gold.
Tadej Skaza and Armagedon S won through ahead of the 2013 Junior team gold-medal-winning partnership of Anna-Maria Papageorgiou and LC Waikiki Akino from Greece, while another member of the Greek contingent, Diogenis Palegdas, stood on the third step of the podium. For 20-year-old Palegdas, this went a long way toward making up for just missing out on a medal when finishing fourth at the Young Riders Championship in Athens, Greece two years ago with the same horse, the 11-year-old bay Holsteiner mare Cornelia.
Silver medallst, 19-year-old Papageorgiou, was consistently placed at last year’s championship and, like so many others, has gained a great of experience in the intervening period while newly-crowned gold medallist, Skaza, underlined the increasing potential of athletes from Slovenia.
The Slovenian double-success was recorded when Skaza’s fellow-countryman, 30-year-old Luka Zaloznik, steered Eloise du Petit Vivier to clinch Senior individual gold on Sunday, having helped his side to team silver the previous afternoon.
The Slovenian Senior team pinned Romania into bronze by a narrow one-fault margin, Romania’s Razvan Bozan (Quickborn), Ionut Ursache (Vienna), Norbert Schuman (Brutus) and Andy Candin (Carlo) completing on a final tally of 20 faults.
Zaloznik produced the best Slovenian team score when picking up just a single time penalty over the two rounds while Urh Bauman and Coriano Charthago racked up a total of eight, Gregor Terglav (Sunpower Z) collected 10 faults in the first round and the anchor partnership of Andrej Pavlovic and Ciacometti CH produced the discard scores in both rounds.
The gold medal winners from Turkey finished well ahead when Sencer Horasan (Quick de St Hermelle), Ulkan Delikan (Contero), Huiki Karagulle (Skara Glen’s Cascador) and Cagri Basel (Chaccomo) completed on a total of 13.
Basel and Chaccomo are seasoned campaigners, competing at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2014 division 2 leg at Bratislava in Slovakia last month and at Drammen in Norway earlier in the summer. Horasan was a double-bronze medallist at the FEI Balkan Championships in Athens in 2012.
Slovenia’s Zaloznik pinned Turkey’s Basel into silver medal spot on the final day when Croatia’s Janka Krasovec and Chicofino took individual Senior bronze. Zaloznik’s 10-year-old Belgian-bred mare was a winner at Lummen, Belgium in April and at Abu Dhabi and Al Ain earlier in the year.
FEI Balkan Senior Team Jumping Championship: GOLD – Turkey 13 faults: Quick de St Hermelle (Sencer Horasan) 4/0, Contero (Ulkan Delikan) 6/-, Skara Glen’s Cascador (Huiki Karagulle) 7/1, Chacomo (Cagri Basel) 1/1; SILVER – Slovenia 19 faults: Coriano Carthago (Urh Bauman) 4/4, Eloise du Petit Vivier (Luka Zaloznik) 1/0, Sunpower Z (Gregor Terglav) 10/0, Ciacometti CH (Andrej Pavlovic) 12/13; BRONZE– Romania 20 faults: Quickborn 5 (Razvan Bozan) 0/4, Vienna (Ionut Ursache) 12/4, Brutus (Norbert Schuman) 0/8, Carlo (Andy Candin) 8/4.
FEI Balkan Senior Individual Jumping Championship: GOLD – Eloise du Petit Vivier (Luka Zaloznik) SLO 9.19; SILVER – Chaccomo (Cagri Basel) TUR 10.25; BRONZE – Chicofino (Janka Krasovec) CRO 14.22.
FEI Balkan Young Riders Individual Jumping Championship: GOLD – Armagedon S (Tadej Skaza) SLO 2.02; SILVER – LC Waikiki Akino (Anna-Maria Papageorgiou) GRE 8.00; BRONZE – Cornelia (Diogenis Palegdas) GRE 22.49.
FEI Balkan Junior Team Jumping Championship: GOLD – Greece 0 faults: Zjohn G (Andreas Vardinogiannis) 0/0, Magic de France (Ioannis Marinakis) 0/0, Coco Lavoro (George Alexandros Amoutzas) 0/4, Oscar du Perron (Marina Theofanopoulou) 4.0; SILVER – Turkey 8 faults in jump-off: Carolus (Asli Gulec) 4/0/4, Timberland (Elif Ozsahn) 12/6/6, Calantus 4 (Selim Can Guney) 4/4/4, WWW Molenheide NL (Adrian Onur) 4/0/0; BRONZE – Slovenia DNF in jump-off: Glorija I (Nina Pangeric) 0/8/4, Quintano K (Anze Sisernik) 0/4/8, Wait n See (Tanit Baukman) 4/8/12, Law in LA (Robert Kucer) 0/0/DNS.
FEI Balkan Junior Individual Jumping Championship: GOLD – Zjohn G (Andreas Vardinogiannis) GRE 0/0/0; SILVER – Calantus 4 (Selim Can Guney) TUR 0/4/0; BRONZE – Cembalo ll (Alexandra Mladin Bradisteanu) ROU 1/1/2.
FEI Balkan Children’s Team Jumping Championship: GOLD – Croatia 0 faults in jump-off: Gemilio LCS (Dunja Al Jamal) 0/0/0, Castro (Filip Jadrijevic) 12/0/0, Tara (Eva Golubicek) 4/5/4, Coeur de Croatie (Josip Gugic) 0/0/0; SILVER – Turkey 4 faults in jump-off: Coolina (Taha Yedikardes) 0/0/0, Admiral (Neslihan Esen) 0/0/0, Dartelle van Bekenhof (Dogasu Aksoy) 6/4/-, Rose (Aleyna Irten) 4/0/4; BRONZE – Greece 8 faults: Cobbydor (Paola Martini) 0/0, Championess 10 (Maria-Erietta Katsou) 4/0, Lili Marlen ll Ch Flexi-Node Atio (Anna-Sophia Danalis) 8/4, Arabella ll (Selini Popp) 4/0.
FEI Balkan Children’s Individual Jumping Championship: GOLD – Coeur de Croatie (Josip Gugic) CRO 0/0/0; SILVER – Gamilio LCS (Dunja Al Jamal) CRO 0/0/4; BRONZE – Arabella 11 (Selini Popp) GRE 0/4/1.