World Vaulting Championships
Le Mans 16-21 August 2016
Report by Dr Tristyn Lowe, Chef d’Equipe
James Hocking (SA) and Sarah Grayson (NSW) recently represented Australia at the 2016 World Senior Vaulting Championships held in Le Mans, France.
The Senior World Championships were held in conjunction with the Junior European Championships. This made it a 5 days of compettion, with an amazing standard of vaulting. The competition included teams, pas de deux and individuals for both Junior European competitors and Seniors World competitors. Australia was only eligible to compete in the Senior Championships.
Sarah Grayson represented Australia in the Senior Individual Female class. The first round consisted of compulsories and freestyle. Grayson competed on a horse from Scotland, Tylers Kernel lunged by John Eccles. She was lucky to have an opportunity to spend some time training in Scotland in the lead up to the Championships. Grayson scored a compulsory score of 6.558 and a freestyle score of 6.611. This placed her in 31st with a total score of 6.585. The women’s standard was very high. The class was won by Jasmin Lindner (AUT) on 8.212, followed by Kristina Boe (GER) with 8.108 and bronze went to Anna Cavallaro (ITA)on 7.992.
James Hocking competed on Ghost Alfavad Z in the Senior Individual Male class. ‘Ghost’ is a Danish horse, lunged by Lasse Kristensen. The first round also consists of compulsories and freestyle. His first round compulsories he scored 7.437, freestyle 7.429 and an overall round 1 score of 7.433. This placed him in 14th place in a hotly contested final of 15 men. The second round consists of technical test and freestyle. Technical test is a challenging round and unfortunately Hocking had little opportunity to train this due to horse challenges and injuries through the season. His second round technical test score was 5.540, and freestyle was 7.036, with an overall score of 6.861.
Hocking is only the 3rd male vaulter to have made it into the finals at a World Championship event. The mens finals were very exciting with the top placings being closely contested and the top rankings being adjusted after each round. The top four men all had final scores of 8.1! The final number one place went to Lambert Leclezio (MRI) whom competed in a Australian CVI recently. He scored 8.135, closely followed by Haennel Vincent (FRA) on 8.127 and in third was Jannis Drewell (GER) on 8.117.
The Squad class was won by France with an amazing freestyle with a fantastically choreographed routine using a bird theme. They had an original style of freestyle with a flowing and smooth style. They came from fourth place in the compulsories to be ranked second coming into the final round, finally taking the gold medal position. In second place was Germany who had a strong lead after the compulsories, and despite two rounds of clean, difficult and well choreographed freestyle, they couldn’t hold onto the lead. In third was Austria who also had strong performances over the 3 rounds.
In pas de deux, the number one spot was strongly held by Austrian pair Jasmin Lindner and Kukas Wacha, with a huge score of 9.084. The other placings were less definite and any performance faults led to a change in position. Second went to Janika Derks and Johannes Kay (GER) on 8.435 and third place went to Lucie Chevrel and Simon Chevrel (FRA) on a score of 8.370.
One amusing challenge of the championships was the pigeons, who chose to participate closely in the competition circle, often flying around the circle in front of the horses and at times swooping close to the performing vaulters. With the bird theme of the winning French squad, there was a general feeling this was quite an Avian Championship!
It was an outstanding World Vaulting Championship and exciting to have witnessed it live.
Congratulations to the two Australian competitors Grayson and Hocking for their participation in the Championships. We look forward to seeing how their experiences carry them forward onto their future competitive pursuits!