Venezuela’s Constanza Römer, aged 13, stormed to gold on borrowed horse Scott at the FEI Children’s International Classics Final 2013 last Sunday (15 December).
In a thrilling nine-horse jump-off at the beautiful Sociedade Hípica de Brasília (BRA), silver and bronze medals went to athletes from the host nation, Paulo Roberto Brasilerio de Miranda on Dijon JC and Filipe Baratella Risi on Cordina.
Some of the world’s best young athletes converged on Brazil’s capital city, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site created a stunning backdrop for this exciting competition and a fitting conclusion to the FEI Children’s International Classics Gold Tour qualifying rounds, which have taken place across the world over the past year.
All nine FEI Regional Groups were represented by 16 qualified athletes from Argentina, France, Germany, Great Britain, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Syria, Venezuela and host nation Brazil.
Quid Pro Quo
The FEI Children’s International Classics Final takes place on borrowed horses. Host nation athletes bring two of their own horses, and draws establish which of the two the host athletes will ride. A further draw pairs up the foreign athletes with the remaining horses.
The Final takes place across several days, this year starting on 10 December, and includes a warm-up competition, two qualifying competitions, a Farewell competition and the Final competition, which is open to the top 16 athletes based on the results accumulated across the two qualifiers and to a maximum of eight host athletes.
The FEI Children’s International Classics Final is a true festival of sport. The Organising Committee, headed by the Vice President of the Brazilian Equestrian Federation Ronaldo Bittencourt Filho, took the opportunity to organise cultural activities throughout the week, including a special visit to the 1st Regimento de Cavalaria de Guardas and a city tour of Brasilia, giving the youngsters the opportunity to mix and forge strong friendships, which is one of the most important ideals behind this Final.
South American Farewell
The day started with the Farewell, a Table A competition against the clock, and the last chance for those athletes not qualified to fight for the medals in the Final competition.
First into the ring was Great Britain’s Charlie Jones, aged 14. He put in a fabulous performance at his first Final with just six penalties after a late substitution with his initial drawn horse, leaving him just one 30-minute training session to familiarise with Xanadu.
Maddison Bult (NZL), last to go of the foreign athletes, and having missed out on a place in the Final competition by just one point, crossed the finish line with a very respectable four-fault score, slotting her into 11th position.
South America proved dominant in the final classification however with Brazil’s Filipe Piza de Toledo de Lorenzo taking the win, Mariana Sadde from Venezuela in second and Leonardo Parzianello Nassif (BRA) completing the podium.
The final competition for the top 16 athletes took place over a testing 1.20 metre course designed by Mexico’s Oscar Soberon.
Great Britain’s William Fletcher was the first to leave all the fences standing, but a single time fault kept him out of the jump-off. However, the officials recognised the talent of this young athlete with the “Most Stylish Rider” award.
Six Brazilian athletes went through to the jump-off, joined by Germany’s Tim Hartlaub on Vancouver de la Vaux, Syria’s Mohd Ghali Al Zaibak with the brilliant Carlota Jmen and Venezuela’s Constanza Römer with Scott.
Al Zaibak was the first to go clear against the clock, with the audience giving thunderous applause for this popular athlete. Brazil’s Brasilerio de Miranda and Baratella Risi then followed with clear rounds and faster times, before Römer produced a quick and fluid performance which catapulted her to the top step of the podium.
With two extremely consistent Brazilian athletes, Barbosa Tiveron and Chiang Cheng still to come, the competition appeared to be wide open, but despite incredible prior performances the pressure was too much for these future stars.
Barbosa Tiveron completed the course with four faults for a fifth place finish, but Chiang Cheng took an unfortunate tumble half way around the course when a missed stride ended in her parting company from her fantastic horse VL Asterix Latin, resulting in elimination. Both horse and rider were uninjured and left the arena to great applause for their bravery and excellent sportsmanship.
So victory was sealed for Römer. After riding a horse she had known for a mere five days, she swooped in to take gold at this thrilling Final.
Her triumph was no fluke however, as this talented athlete who will no doubt soon be a familiar name on the international circuit, topped the worldwide Gold Tour Standings after an extraordinary year.
“If anyone is searching for a definition of the FEI Family then they need look no further than this event, which encompasses so many values and ideal ethics of the sport we seek to find today”, concluded FEI 2nd Vice President, Mr Pablo Mayorga (ARG). “I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful athletes over the last few days and I am confident that the future of our sport is safe in their young hands.”
FEI Children’s International Classics Final 2013
Gold: Constanza Römer (VEN)/Scott
Silver: Paulo Roberto Brasilerio de Miranda (BRA)/Dijon JC
Bronze: Filipe Baratella Risi (BRA)/Cordina
For full results click here.