Missed title at home European championships: German riders fail at the last jump

Missed title at home European championships
German riders fail at the last jump

Germany’s show jumpers have been waiting for the title at the European Championships for ten years. On the home course, the team is very close to the gold medal, but a very late mistake prevents the jubilation. In view of the failures, second place is definitely a success.

Won silver, but lost the gold that was within reach: After their second place in the Nations Cup at the European Championships in Riesenbeck, the German show jumpers got stuck in a rollercoaster of emotions. “With this medal we have achieved our goal,” said national coach Otto Becker on the ZDF microphone: “I am of course satisfied, but at the moment the disappointment prevails. We were so close.”

However, nothing came of the first German European Championship title since 2011. One single drop too much deprived the hosts of this line-up from the title, which Switzerland won for the first time since 2009. The decision was open until the last second: After the German final rider David Will (Marburg) with C four, London Olympic champion Steve Guerdat also made a mistake with Maddox – another would have given Germany the title. “But you can’t hope for that with an experienced man like Guerdat,” said Becker. Third place went to defending champions Belgium.

For the national coach, the medal is a silver recommendation in the upcoming talks about a contract extension. The team Olympic champion from Sydney has been in office since 2009, under his direction Germany won, among other things, EM gold in 2011 in Madrid, World Cup bronze in 2018 in Tryon and Olympic bronze in 2016 in Rio. In Riesenbeck, Becker did not want to comment on his personal future: “The talks are ongoing.”

For the European Championship he had to put together a team without world champion Simone Blum, world number one Daniel Deußer and Christian Ahlmann, in which the big names are missing. In addition, one day before the start of the European Championship, Maurice Tebbel was also out, whose horse Don Diarado was not ready for action due to a suddenly appeared hoof ulcer.

“A clear rider’s fault”

Nevertheless, the hosts were at the front. As in the first round on Thursday, Andre Thieme (Plau am See) and the eleven-year-old chestnut mare Chakaria also presented on Friday. The 46-year-old came out of the very demanding course without a mistake, jerked his left fist up and greeted the audience with a wide grin, relieved.

As the second German, veteran Marcus Ehning started with the ten-year-old Stargold. Ehning confidently kept the boisterous stallion in check and also put in a faultless lap. In the end, Ehning wanted to be happy about the silver instead of being annoyed about the lost gold: “We were really not the favorites here and are now second, I’m totally satisfied.”

Christian Kukuk, rider in the stable of EM host Ludger Beerbaum, did not make it through the course without a mistake in front of his home crowd. At the last obstacle of the triple combination, his nine-year-old gray gelding Mumbai took a pole with him with his hindquarters. Germany already had the silver medal by then.

“Of course I feel great relief and joy that I have secured the silver medal, but there is also a bit of disappointment about this mistake, which is clearly on my cap,” said the 31-year-old on the ZDF microphone. In the end it was up to David Will, a clear round would have been the victory, but C Vier took a pole with him. “A clear rider’s mistake,” Will said self-critically: “That was definitely my thing.”