Reigning World Champion, Joanne Eccles, has successfully defended her senior female European title at the European Championships in Le Mans, France (16-21 August).
Joanne (22) from Tillicoultry in Scotland, retained the title that in 2009 made her the first Team GBR vaulter to win an FEI Vaulting Championship medal, after a stunning performance aboard her long-standing partner W H Bentley, lunged by father John Eccles.
Her final score of 8.553, one of her highest scores this year, came just 0.02 ahead of Germany’s Sarah Kay, who finished on 8.533, illustrating how closely fought the senior female competition has been this year.
Joanne commented on her result; “It was really good in there. It was a pretty much almost perfect test and was really hard to judge what the score would be at the end. It’s been a tough few days but I’m absolutely ecstatic with the result. In 2009 it was amazing to win my first Championship medal but this time it almost means more as I’ve had to fight so hard for it.”
As well as taking the individual title, Joanne and sister Hannah (19) produced a stunning test in another closely fought competition to take Silver in the Pas de Deux, with a final score of 8.411, just 0.008 behind the eventual Gold medallists, Germany (8.419). Bronze went to Austria, who finished on 8.245.
This is only the second Championship medal for Great Britain in the Pas de Deux, after the sisters achieved Silver at the FEI Pairs Championships last year in Austria.
The pair, who are members of the Wee County Vaulting Group, compete the Pas de Deux on W H Bentley, again lunged by their father John.
Chef d’Equipe for the Vaulting squad, Lucy Bell added; “It’s been a long week and has been very tense and tight throughout the two competitions. There was a lot of pressure going into the arena today but as always brilliant performances were delivered on both counts; it’s a fantastic result for both Joanne and Hannah and for British Vaulting.”
For full competition details visit www.boulerie-jump.com
photo Getty Images