The FEI Vaulting World Cup™ final, Basel (SUI), culminated in an exceptional morning of extraordinary Vaulting talent. There were twists, turns, and top marks on display as Germany kept hold of the Male and Female titles, Kathrin Meyer and Jannik Heiland retaining their crowns, whilst Pas de Deux, Rebecca Greggio and Davide Zanella, put their fashion foot forward to prevent a triple German success and return home to Italy with their first FEI Vaulting World Cup™ win.
The Men kicked off the final, Theo Gardies posting a whopping 9.118 Free Test score with Sir Sensation and Sebastion Langlois for France, earning him a near perfect artistic score in the process and a total of 8.808. Hopes were high for fans of Viktor Brüsewitz as he entered, second last to compete, on Goldjunge lunged by Jaqueline Schönteich. With lower execution and artistic scores, he was unable to hold his round one position and slipped to third place in the final rankings, 8.463.
Only Jannik Heiland (GER) could stand in the way of a French victory, and he performed confidently with noble steed Dark Beluga FRH and Barbara Rosiny. An incredibly clean routine coupled with top marks for his horse landed the victory in his lap once again, a back-to-back triumph and personal best World Cup final score of 8.917.
“The conditions were amazing. I had two really good rounds… Beluga is my once-in-a-lifetime horse,” said Heiland.
With one champion decided, the competition moved straight to the females. Illona Hannich (SUI), determined to make amends for a lower Technical Test score, showed clean lines and beautiful expression aboard Rayo de la Luz. She thrilled the judges and took home the reward of the top female freestyle score of the day, 8.880, which was not enough to win the class but brought her to the third step of the podium and showed her potential for the future.
The battle was fought between defending champion Kathrin Meyer, GER, and round one winner Alina Ross, GER, both athletes bringing new freestyles and artistic concepts to the ring. Kathrin’s connection with her horse San Classico S and lunger Sonja Meyer (her mum) was evident. There was emotion and harmony in her performance, completing the competition on a personal best FEI World Cup™ final score of 8.503, leaving her fate in Alina’s hands.
Despite showing a high level of difficulty and strong exercises, Alina was unable to perform to perfection on Goldjunge with Jaqueline Schönteich, a new partnership for this event. Goldjunge scored lower than San Classico S, contributing to an 8.311 final score and a second-place finish.
As ever, the Pas de Deux final left everyone speechless. Switzerland’s Zoe Maruccio and Syra Schmid created appealing shapes and worked in complete balance, delighting the home crowd and confirming a third-place finish with Michael Heuer and Latino v. Forst CH (8.168).
It was a nail-biting end as everything came down to hundredths of a point between the German and Italian pairs.
Impossible to take your eyes off them, Diana Harwardt and Peter Künne put their all into a seamless performance for Germany. There were no errors from DSP Sir Lau Lau and Andrea Harwardt, and earning a massive total score of 8.549, there couldn’t have been any more pressure on the final combination as they entered for Italy.
Drama, creativity, and non-stop intricate combinations enhanced a harmonious routine from Rebecca Greggio and Davide Zanella, in partnership with Claudia Peterson and Orlando Tancredi. They more than held their nerves and blew the judges away with musicality and movement, pipping the Germans and winning the final for the first time by only 0.047 (8.596).
“We were very happy. Last year was a tough year and we worked a lot and wanted to enjoy this competition,” said Greggio.
The 2024 FEI Vaulting World Cup™ final could not have been better. The curtains have closed in Basel for now; however, we will return next year for the 2025 FEI Vaulting World Cup™ final, alongside the FEI Jumping and Dressage World Cup™ finals (www.basel2025.com), where there could be a chance for our individual medallists to defend their titles for a second time.
by Joanne Littlejohn