Philippe Le Jeune wins show jumping
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Belgium's Philippe Le Jeune won the individual show jumping championship Saturday at the World Equestrian Games with a flawless run.
Saudi Arabia's Abdullah Al Sharbatly was second, and Canada's Eric Lamaze finished third.
Four competitors took part in the final, which has a unique format for this level of competition. All riders were required to jump the course four times. They competed on their own mounts first, and then rode each of their competitors' horses. Le Jeune was the only person to post four clear rounds.
"I was quite relaxed," Le Jeune said. "I had no difficult moments. I decided I had to go their way, not make them go my way. When I was a young boy, my father taught me to love animals. My life is dedicated to my horses. If I had a wish, it would be that if a horse could speak, that it would say it would be happy to stay at my place."
Al Sharbatly finished the night with eight faults, while Lamaze had nine. The fourth competitor, Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa, had 12.
In the competition, the best horse also was determined based on performance. That honor went to Lamaze's mount, Hickstead, who was the only horse to complete all four rounds with no faults.
Vaulting also determined individual champions Saturday. In the women's competition, Britain's Joanne Eccles took home the gold. Germany's Antje Hill was second, and teammate Simone Wiegele third. In the men's competition, Switzerland's Patric Looser won the gold medal, Germany's Kai Vorberg took the silver and France's Nicolas Andreani won bronze.
"It was really hard to do my last freestyle because I knew Kai was in front," said Looser, who is good friends with Vorberg. "I just tried to smile and relax during my freestyle and be clean. What I feel, I can't tell you."
Earlier in the day, there was controversy during the marathon portion of the driving event when it was discovered the carriage of one of the leading drivers had been vandalized. The Netherlands' Ijsbrand Chardon was allowed to take the course last so he and his team would have time to repair the damage.
"Not only the Dutch team but all of the teams around me helped a lot," Chardon said. "I don't have any hard feelings toward the organization. It could always be a crazy person that did this."
Kentucky State Police have been called in to investigate the vandalism.
"We have a detective on site that responded to the location, spoke to the team, and worked his investigation from there," Lt. David Jude said.
The vandalism did not impede Chardon's performance. He finished first in the marathon and was second overall because of combined scoring from the dressage competition earlier in the week. Australia's Boyd Exell, who set a world record in dressage, continued to lead, and the United States' Tucker Johnson was third. In team competition, the Netherlands led the United States, while Sweden was third.
Driving concludes Sunday with the stadium competition, which features a tight course of cones that must be navigated within the time allowed. The team with the lowest number of penalties after all three phases of competition wins.
In para dressage, Britain's Lee Pearson won the grade I-B freestyle competition. Denmark's Stinna Tange Kaastrup was second, and Finland's Katja Karjalainen was third. In the grade II competition, Germany's Angelika Trabert won, while the Netherlands' Gert Bolmer was second and Britain's Jo Pitt was third.
The World Equestrian Games end Sunday.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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