It was a great result for the host nation of Turkey as they claimed two team and three individual titles at the FEI Balkan Jumping Championships 2013 in Istanbul last weekend.
Greek riders dominated the 2012 edition in Athens, but the situation was reversed this time around when they had to settle for double-gold in the Junior category as the home-side contenders went into over-drive.
Riders from six nations – Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Romania, Serbia and Turkey – lined up at this year’s event which also included non-championship classes for Ladies along with a Young Horse category. Staged at Kemar Golf and Country Club, 28 miles from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, the FEI Balkan Jumping Championships once again embraced generations of equestrian athletes from the region who shared a great week of sport.
French course designer Jean Philippe Desmaret was a busy man with seven sets of medals to be decided during the four-day fixture. And when the first set of medals went to the Greek Junior Team last Friday, it might have seemed a little like history was about to repeat itself.
The Greeks fielded three of the team that won the 2012 Junior title, Iolo Mytilineou once again partnering Ascot, Marina Theofanopoulou again riding Oscar du Perron and Anna-Maria Papageorgiou with a different horse, LC Waikiki Akino. Stefania Cheinoporos and Championess were the only new recruits to the side, and when they joined Mytilineou and Papageorgiou on a zero first-round score it was already clear they hadn’t lost their touch. Theofanopoulou produced the only foot-perfect second round, but with just a single error from her three team-mates the Greek total of eight faults left them convincing winners.
Just three countries lined out for the Junior Team title and Turkey took silver when Talya Afyoneri (Wervelwind), Zeynep Aksoy (Axioma Ter Goes Z), Elif Ozsahin (Timberland) and Buse Samli (Matcho) racked up a 24-fault result. This left them well clear of the Romanian side of Claudiu Floristean (Carnaval ll), Stefan Leonte (Ogici), Corneliu Paul Iionescu (Dona Doll) and Cristian Ceausescu (Duende) in bronze with 50 faults at the end of the day.
Mytilineou, who competed at this summer’s FEI European Junior Jumping Championship at Vejar de la Frontera in Spain and who is considered one of the great hopes for the future of the sport of jumping in Greece, claimed the Individual title for the third time in succession, but it wasn’t without a battle. The 16-year-old rider went into a medal-deciding jump-off with 18-year-old Cristian Ceausescu from Romania who, with four faults in a slower time, filled silver-medal spot. The Greeks really left their mark on this one when Theofanopoulou claimed bronze as Cheinporous just missed out on a podium placing.
Winners of the Children’s Team title last year, the Greeks had to settle for silver this time around as the home-side competitors moved into their comfort zone. Double-clear from pathfinder Emre Eratici (Village Born), third-line rider Necmi Eren (Grandioos BZ) and anchorman Emir Kocak (Florentine) left them completely fault-free and in a position to drop the 20 collected by Ahmet Berk Basegmez (Zara).
The combined-time rule decided silver and bronze, with the Greek side of Anna-Sophia Danalis (Lili Marlen ll), Andreas Vardinogiannis (Litium), Paola Martini (Cobbydor) and Konstantinos-Evangelos Papathanassiou (Quatuor des Bordes) getting the advantage. Their time of 217.05 seconds left them almost three seconds faster than Croatia’s Laura Dragicevic (Aidora l Ritz), Filip Jadrijevic (Castro), Dunja Al Jamal (Filou du Pichoux) and Nina Madirazza (Lavai) when both teams finished on four faults. Bulgaria completed with a 12-fault total in fourth place ahead of Romania with 25.
It took a jump-off to decide the Individual Children’s title and in the end just 0.20 separated 13-year old Turkish gold medallist Emir Kocak from 14-year-old Ventsislav Isov from Bulgaria in silver, while Paola Martini from Greece claimed the bronze.
There was no Young Rider’s Team event this year as there were not sufficient numbers to make up more than two teams, but three nations shared the podium in the Individual Championship.
It was topped by Turkey’s Yusuf Cem Kayacan and his eight-year-old bay mare Abner while Bulgaria’s Kristian Valev steered his 11-year-old Belgian-bred mare Ching van Berkenbroeck into silver medal spot. Serbia’s Irena Ilic took the bronze with her 10-year-old Holsteiner stallion, Clear, after winning the Grand Prix on the final day.
With the bit now firmly between their teeth there was now no stopping the home contingent as they swept to team gold before clinching two of the three Senior Individual medals.
Turkish pathfinders, Husnu Dinc and Chiara, produced one of just three clears in the Senior Team Championship in which all five nations racked up significant scores. Dinc led the way with a four-fault result before producing his clean sheet second time out with Chiara, and when Sencer Can (Ballistic) and Mert Alicioglu (Valdos) collected 12 faults over the two rounds, then the 40 picked up by Kaan Kiilkaplan (Cordijana ll) could be discarded for final tally of 28. The proved plenty good enough for gold when Greece finished with 40 to take silver ahead of Bulgaria in bronze on a final scoreline of 45.
The clear registered by Monika Martini and Cleopatra Vl was pivotal to the result of the Greek team that also included Grigoris Voglis (Quetcha de Chenee), Stelios Stavroulakis (Alerion 2) and Dimitri Natsis (Cartago). Bulgarian anchorman, Angel Niagolov, was also foot-perfect first time out with Cartina, and only a single fault separated these two sides at the half-way stage.
There was a dramatic improvement in the Bulgarian performance in round two when pathfinder, Ivaylo Bonev, followed his eight-fault first-round effort with just a single mistake with Mister Big, Vladimir Georgiev and Farina added just eight faults to the 17 collected first time out and Asparum Atanasov and Colorado following their 22-fault first effort with 14 at their second attempt. A second clear from Niagolov would have seen Bulgaria clinch silver, but two fences down saw them finish with the bronze.
The event finished on a really high note when Turkey took two of the three Senior Individual Championship medals, including gold for Husnu Dinc and Chiara and bronze for Mert Aligioglu and Valdos. Silver went to Bulgaria’s Niagolov and Chiara.
FEI Balkan Senior Team Jumping Championship: GOLD - Turkey 28 faults: Chiara (Husnu Dinc) 4/0, Cordijana ll (Kaan Kizilkaplan) 24/16, Ballistic (Sencer Can) 8/4, Valdos (Mert Alicioglu) 4/8; SILVER - Greece 40 faults: Cleopatra Vl (Monika Martini) 4/0 Quetcha de Chenee (Grigoris Voglis) 12/16, Alerion 2 (Stelios Stavroulakis) 8/4, Cartago (Dimitri Natsis) 20/12; BRONZE - Bulgaria 45 faults: Mister Big (Ivaylo Bonev) 18/4, Farina (Vladimir Georgiev) 17/8, Colorado (Asparuh Atanasov) 22/14, Cartina 8 (Angel Niagolov) 0/8.
FEI Balkan Senior Individual Jumping Championship: GOLD - Chiara (Husnu Dinc) TUR 9.98; SILVER - Carina (Angel Niagolov) BUL 12.28; BRONZE - Valdos (Mert Alicioglu) TUR 20.00.
FEI Balkan Young Riders Individual Jumping Championship: GOLD - Abner (Yusuf Cem Kayacan) TUR; SILVER - Ching van Berkenbroeck (Kristian Valev) BUL; BRONZE - Clear (Irena Ilic) SRB.
FEI Balkan Junior Team Jumping Championship: GOLD - Greece 8 faults: Ascot 76 (Ioli Mytilineou) 0/4, Championess 10 (Stefania Cheinoporos) 0/4, LC Wiaikiki Akino (Anna-Maria Papageorgiou) 0/4, Oscar du Perron (Marina Theofanopoulo) 4/0; SILVER - Turkey 24 faults: Wervelwind 4 (Talya Afyoneri) 8/4, Axioma Ter Goes Z (Zeynep Aksoy) 8/4, Timberland (Elip Ozsahin) 0/9, Matcho (Buse Samli) 8/0; BRONZE - Romania 50 faults: Carnaval ll (Claudiu Floristean) 14/8, Ogica (Stefan Leonte) 8/16, Dona Doll (Corneliu paul Iionescu) 24/12, Duende (Cristian Ceausescu) 8/0.
FEI Balkan Junior Individual Jumping Championship: GOLD - Ascot 76 (Ioli Mytilineou) GRE; SILVER - Duende (Cristian Ceausescu) ROU; BRONZE - Oscar du Perron (Marina Theofanopoulou) GRE.
FEI Balkan Children’s Team Jumping Championship: GOLD - Turkey 0 faults: Village Born (Emre Eratici0 0/0, Zara (Ahmet Berk Basegmez) 4/16, Grandioos BZ (Necmi Eren) 0/0, Florentine 62 (Emir Kocak) 0/0; SILVER - Greece 4 faults 217.05 secs: Lili Marlen ll CH (Anna-Sophia Danalis) 4/0, Litium (Andreas Vardinogiannis) 0/8, Cobbydor (Paola Martini) 0/0, Quatuor des Bordes (Konstantinos-Evangelos Papathanassiou) 8/0; BRONZE - Croatia 4 faults 220.07 secs: Aidora l Ritz (Laura Dragicevic) 0/0, Castro (Filip Jadrijevic) 0/0, Filoudu Pichoux (Dunja Al Jamal) 12/8, Lavai (Nina Madirazza) 0/4.
FEI Balkan Children’s Individual Jumping Championship: GOLD - Florentine 62 (Emir Kocak) TUR; SILVER - Ezop (Ventsislav Izov) BUL; BRONZE - Cobbydor (Paola Martini) GRE.