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Jos Lansink wins World showjumping title

  - Jos Lansink wins World showjumping title

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At the end of a grandiose Jumping Finale, Jos Lansink (BEL) was crowned the 2006 World Individual Jumping Champion without having committed, himself or his grey stallion Cavalor Cumano, a single mistake for the whole competition with rotation of horses. The silver goes to Beezie Madden (USA) and the bronze to Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER).

It was a day of fabulous sport and, most importantly, of fun and pleasure. "It was a lot a fun," a smiling bronze medallist Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum said. "It was not as stressful as I had imagined."

Was the 8-fence 10-jumping effort course too easy or were the riders and their mounts too talented? In front of some 50,000 breathless spectators, a clear round followed a clear round which was followed by yet another clear round. Sceptics had questioned the three ladies - Edwina Alexander (AUS), Beezie Madden and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum - abilities to ride Jos Lansink's energetic Cavalor Cumano but the problems did not come with this well educated horse.

Meredith's clever Shutterfly is particularly sensitive to noise and is usually never walked and exercised inside a competition venue. The ovations proved too much of a stress for him and he would not let Edwina Alexander's saddle be put on him. When that finally happened, she rode beautifully but a little too much of a hand caused the first bar - after 15 rounds - to fall definitely annihilating Edwina's hopes for a medal.

A jump-off was needed to break the tie between the remaining three riders, all of whom had gone clear so far. Clear for Jos and Cumano and a time of 45.01s; one fence down for Meredith and a fantastic time of 43.74 for Beezie but one - the last - fatal bar down. "Authentic is a horse with a lot of blood and perhaps we both let go a bit too early thinking we were home free after the penultimate vertical," Beezie Madden said.

The 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games finish in a flourish of sporting triumph and emotion. The FEI flag is now Kentucky's and a beautiful page of horsesport has been written. But before we turn it for good, let us pause for a moment and think about what makes a true champion.

Talent no doubt, good horses of course, a lot of work for sure, a little luck perhaps. And yet all these combined together make up for a very good and successful rider but not quite for a champion.

The magical touch that makes the difference is faith and team spirit: to hope against hope, to fight until the end, to never let go, to believe whatever the odds, to always see your success as a tribute to a team.

And this is why Anky, Meredith, Zara, Jos, Tim, Jeroen, Megan or Virginie have medals and we don't.


Jos Lansink wins World showjumping title

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Jos Lansink wins World showjumping title

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