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Offenburg hosted its first ever FEI World Cup™ vaulting qualifier to great acclaim.
With few elusive places at the final available, the pressure was on. Vaulters, horses and lungers alike, rose to the occasion delivering a spectacular show for the Offenburg crowd.
In the female category, Boe led from beginning to end hitting exceptional form. Together with Daviana and Ines Nawroth, she once again showed that the force is with her, performing a near flawless rendition of her Star Wars freestyle to secure her place at the Dortmund final (8.516).
Her eyes will be firmly on securing her first ever FEI World Cup Vaulting™ title, one that has thus far evaded her.
The current FEI World Cup™ vaulting standing’s leader, Switzerland’s Nadja Buttiker came into the event with maximum qualifying points already in the bag after wins at both Paris and Leipzig.
She performed her ‘Music & Dance’ freestyle with ease and grace to finish 2nd (8.336), after clawing back from 4th from the first day. It will be tantalising to watch Buttiker and Boe go head to head in the final - a new rivalry has emerged.
Going into the second round it was extremely close with all six females between 0.4 of each other – highlighting the unprecedented standard at the event.
For Denmark’s trailblazer Sheena Bendixen, together with Klintholms Ramstein and Lasse Kristensen on the lunge, her debut qualifying season finished in triumph with a third place podium finish (8.220).
Switzerland’s Heppler reigned victorious in an intensely close class, piping current FEI World Cup™ vaulting champion - and overnight leader – Jannis Drewell (GER) to the title.
Securing victory in Offenburg means Heppler wins both the season opener and closer and looks formidable heading into the final.
With a mere 0.1 separating the top three male vaulter’s going into the second day, all three rose to the occasion. Whilst finishing 2nd place, Drewell performed an entertaining freestyle, in a sport of margins, it just wasn’t enough (8.687). On any other day France’s Clement Taillez, could easily have taken the title, however he slipped into third by a whisker (8.629).
It looked like a sure thing.
Syra Schmid and Zoe Maruccio (SUI) showed their huge progression to post 7.592 (2nd). It was now the last two to go, a German head-to-head, much to the delight of the Offenburg crowd.
Jolina Ossenberg-Engels and Timo Gerdes (GER) captivated the home crowd with their Titanic freestyle, performing a breath-taking interpretation of the classic film on Caramoe with Claudia Ossenberg-Engels on the lunge. They showed great vaulting intelligence to adapt the freestyle from Leipzig and restructure the elements that weren’t working to much acclaim from judges and audience alike (8.238).
Last to go, pas de deux legends Bresch and Jacobs took to the arena. Unfortunately, Holiday on Ice wasn’t as settled from the get go, despite this Bresch and Jacobs performed with their usual vigour.
During a difficult lift combination, Holiday spooked at something in the arena and the two toppled from the horse. Whilst they resumed their freestyle they were unable to fully finish their routine. Testament to their skill, resilience and experience they finished 3rd (7.349). However, they will be back after qualifying for the Dortmund final.
We have been treated to an unbelievable qualifying season full of drama, excitement and world-class vaulting. Now it’s time for the main event – The Final!
...Get ready Dortmund is just around the corner!
Text by Hannah Eccles
Images by Daniel Kaiser