Super Swedes come out on top in Jumping Team Qualifier

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With three fabulous clear rounds the Swedish team of Henrik von Eckermann (King Edward), Malin Baryard-Johnsson (Indiana) and Peder Fredricson (All In) finished with the only zero score in the Jumping Team qualifier at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games tonight.

Since the action began on the first day of the Individual competition last Tuesday, Henrik von Eckermann’s King Edward, Malin Baryard-Johnsson’s Indiana and Peder Fredricson’s All In have not lowered a single pole.

Fredricson and the 15-year-old All In have an incredible record. They were faultless on their way to Individual silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and once again on their way to Individual silver here in Tokyo on Wednesday night.

It will be a whole new competition when the action resumes in tomorrow’s Team Final where the top-10 teams from tonight’s qualifier will battle it out once again, all starting on a zero score. But the Swedes look super-confident ahead of that showdown in which they will be challenged by Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, USA, France, Great Britain, Brazil and The Netherlands.

Dramatic exit

A number of countries made a dramatic exit, including Japan. Daisuke Fukushima and Chanyon, who finished Individually sixth, picked up eight faults when first to go for the host nation, but when Koki Saito and Chilensky were withdrawn that dashed their chances.

Then Irish pathfinder Shane Sweetnam and Alejandro fell at the water-tray vertical at fence 10. The grey gelding had been jumping erratically after paddling the first element of the triple combination at fence five. They left the arena unscathed, but Sweetnam was devastated for his team and for the horse who is normally so reliable.

“He’s an experienced horse, normally he’s very good but he pulled his shoe off going into the triple combination, I don’t know whether that hurt him but it definitely rattled him, and then after that you could see he was very unsettled and wasn’t like himself at all”, said the man who has long been a rock for the Irish side. But his team’s chances of a place in the Final were gone.

When the second rotation of riders got underway Israel’s Teddy Vlock took a fall at the previous liverpool oxer. His 11-year-old mare had already refused at the second fence and had two fences down along the way. Vlock was examined by medics after walking out of the arena and was cleared to go back to his hotel, but knowing that his country was now also out of the medal race.

Effortless ease

At the other end of the spectrum the Swedes were just waltzing home with effortless ease. “Our horses have been unbelievable!”, said Baryard-Johnsson. “I think we all have the same feeling that it felt quite easy every round in there - they are all jumping so well, every round!”

The Belgians and Germans also looked very comfortable, both completing with just four faults on the board all made up of time penalties. Gregory Wathelet was last to go for Belgium with Nevados S and felt he was in a comfort zone because his compatriots Pieter Devos with Claire Z and Jerome Guery with Quel Homme de Hus had only collected a single time penalty each. He added two more but didn’t feel under any pressure.

“I just had to go and see how my horse was feeling after the Individual Final because we all know tomorrow will be bigger like the (Individual) Final. It feels like he is fresh so I’m happy about that”, said the rider who finished ninth on Wednesday night.

Germany’s Maurice Tebbel and Don Diarado also picked up two time faults to add to the single faults collected by team-mates Andre Thieme with DSP Chakaria and Daniel Deusser with Killer Queen. Thieme had an interesting time in the arena and said afterwards, “I won’t win the prize for the most stylish round!”, but he was really proud of his 11-year-old mare.


“She is a superstar and I’m not the only one thinking that. She is complete!”, he said. But that venue, those lights and jumps it’s maybe a bit early and too impressive for her because she’s young and green. But on the other hand if she goes through this she will learn something and everywhere else in the world it will be easy for her. I’m totally in love with this horse! She belongs to the family and she’s so special!”, he added.

Switzerland finished with 10 on the board, the USA with 13, the defending champions from France with 15, and Great Britain racked up 17. The final three teams to make the cut were Brazil who collected 25 faults, The Netherlands who picked up 26 and Argentina who finished with 27 and squeezed Egypt out of the top 10.

Also on the sidelines as the Final plays itself out tomorrow night will be the teams from China, Morocco, New Zealand, Czech Republic and Mexico.

It won’t be long before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team Jumping champions are crowned.

Results here

photo credits: Ben Schellekens

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