The second day of the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon 2018 was all about freestyle, with its emotions, surprises and bad luck as the first ever Nations Team Championship (Nations Cup) took place. Here is an overview of what happened for the competing nations.

The squad and two individuals of each participating nation are competing as a team and showing the most spectacular part of our discipline: Freestyle. This format is probably more challenging for the vaulters as individuals who are also in the national squad need to enter the arena twice in a row, but it is certainly the best way to make our discipline accessible to everyone and get more mediatized. It also gives more cohesion to the national teams and awakes our pride somehow.

We had nine nations in line, and the German team was as much expected as the new format of the competition: Team Norka from Cologne (9.016), Jannik Heiland (8.986) and Kristina Boe (8.500) made history indeed with the very first gold medal. These impressive scores gave them a cumulative total of 26.502.

Team Norka Deutschland
Photo: Fotoina

The Swiss Team composed of Nadja Büttiker (8.489), Lukas Heppler (8.516) and the Team Lütisburg (8.828) ended with 25.833 points and the silver medal, but they appeared as a strong challenger for the Germans.

Team Lütisburg Voltige
Photo: Fotoina

Team Austria took third place with Katharina Luschin (8.248), Lisa Wild (8.525) and the squad from Wildegg (8.598) with a total of 25.371 points, just enough to beat the Italians who showed remarkable performances, too, with a total of 25.065 points in the fourth place.

Team Wildegg Österreich
Photo: Fotoina

The scores from the Nations Championship are carried over into the respective classes, which gives us an idea of how the next rounds will look like. Earlier in the day the non-nations individual female and male competitors also performed their first round freestyle routines.

We will remember the outstanding performance of Sheena Bendixen (DEN) for the female individuals, who won this freestyle round and placed herself in the 3rd place of the current and provisional standings with a total of 8.385, just behind Lisa Wild (8.396) and Kristina Boe (8.424).

Kristina Boe Germany
Photo: Fotoina
Lisa Wild
Photo: Fotoina
Sheena Bendixen
Photo: Fotoina

Daniela Fritz (AUT) who had been lying in third place position after compulsories unfortunately suffered a knee injury during her freestyle and had to step down during her performance. We wish her all the best and a fast recovery!

The male competition was incredibly tough with a higher freestyle score of 8.987 given to Thomas Brüsewitz (GER), 0.001 ahead of what his fellow Jannik Heiland achieved in the Nations Team Championship later on. Jannis Drewell (GER, 8.921) and Lambert Leclezio (FRA, 8.832) are very close and rise the pressure for the top position.

In the overall ranking Thomas Brüsewitz is in the lead, followed by Jannik Heiland and Lambert Leclezio.

Thomas Brüsewitz
Photo: Fotoina
Jannik Heiland Voltigieren
Photo: Fotoina
Lambert Leclezio Voltige
Photo: Fotoina

We look forward to the technical test in the next hours, only accessible to the top 15 after the first round.

The Pas De Deux competition was not the least either: The three best freestyles all got scored above 9. At the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy 2014 the winning pair, Jasmin Lindner and Lukas Wacha (AUT) also got such a high score. 

In terms of World Championships the Austrians are unbeaten since 2012 and they are still leading here. Even after the recovery of Lukas who got injured last year during several weeks, they are having a strong comeback and are ready to defend their title here in Tryon!

Their “Chess” program was scored with a 9.138. Second and third places are only 0.001 far from each other, with the Italians Silvia Stopazzini and Lorenzo Lupacchini (ITA) scoring 9.057. Janika Derks and Johannes Kay (GER) received 9.056, after they probably executed their best freestyle of the season with Dark Beluga, a horse that belongs to Team Timeloh, on which they are not used to train at home. This current top 3 might be challenged by Torben Jacobs and Theresa-Sophie Bresch (GER) today, as they scored 8.706 in the fourth position.

Lukas Wacha Jasmin Lindner
Photo: Fotoina
Silvia Stopazzini Lorenzo Lupacchini
Photo: Fotoina
Johannes Kay Neuss
Photo: Fotoina

In general, we can note an amazing progress of this category with a lot more top scores of 8 and above than in the past championships.

For more information about the event check out our blog post WEG Tryon 2018: Schedule, Start Lists and Results.