15 augustus 2009

WC Greven: Marathon mixes standings

Today’s marathon at the FEI World Combined Pony Driving Championships in Greven has mixed up both the individual and team standings. While the German team is still in the lead, they are being chased by The Netherlands and Belgium. Dutch Arjo van Kekem has taken over the lead in the single pony class; German Daniel Schneiders is leading the pairs class. Tobias Bücker from Germany is the only one who has kept his lead after dressage and marathon in the pony four-in-hand class.
It was a beautiful day for the marathon in Greven. Lots of sunshine and an occasional breeze made the circumstances for the ponies, their drivers and the 5000 spectators that visited the event today quite comfortable.

Results marathon:
Single pony
1. Arjo van Kekem (Ned) 74,25
2. Maxime Maricourt (Fra) 75,15
3. Melanie Becker (Ned) 76,78

Pony pair
1. Dieter Baackmann (Ger) 77,52
2. Daniel Schneiders (Ger) 78,44
3. Karel van Kekem (Ned) 79,05

Pony team
1. Aart van de Kamp jr. (Ned) 85,86
2. Jan de Boer (Ned) 86,97
3. Martin Thiemann (Ger) 89,42


Individual standings after dressage and marathon:
Single pony

1. Arjo van Kekem (Ned) 129,93
2. Suzy Stafford (Usa) 130,62
3. Melanie Becker (Ned) 130,92

Pony pair
1. Daniel Schneiders (Ger) 129,64
2. Stephan Koch (Ger) 131,00
3. Steffen Abicht (Ger) 131,66

Pony team
1. Tobias Bücker (Ger) 138,19
2. Steffen Brauchle (Ger) 141,43
3. Jan de Boer (Ned) 141,62

Nations standings after dressage and marathon:
1. Duitsland 396,35
2. Nederland 398,53
3. België 407,47


Arjo van Kekem (NED):
“I had hoped for a good marathon result, but to end on the first place in the standings is just super! My pony went very well today and I achieved the maximum result. I especially liked the long obstacles, my pony is at his best when he has the opportunity to accelerate.”

Dieter Baackmann (GER):
“The marathon was rather heavy for me and my ponies, the obstacles were long and this used up some of their strength. I would like to thank my groom, if it had not been for him, I would have had two knock downs.”

Aart van de Kamp junior (NED)
“I like the marathon, although it was not technical enough for me, the more technical they are, the better I get with my small ponies! I wanted to make a gap in the marathon between me and my close by competitors, but I did not achieve the result I wanted. I had mistakes in two obstacles, which cost me precious seconds. But I am of course nevertheless happy that I won the marathon at this World Championship!”

The orange fans did not shout for nothing in today’s marathon as Aart van de Kamp junior drove his team of Shetland ponies very fast through the obstacles, designed by WEG 2006 course designer Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf. Twenty nine year old Aart is a true marathon specialist, having won marathons at e.g. the big international pony driving competitions in Emsdetten and Giethmen, as well as at the 2007 World Championships. Aart is defending his individual silver medal in Greven and set no more than five fastest times in the obstacles today. His compatriot and title defender Jan de Boer took the second place, ahead of individual driver for Germany Martin Thiemann. Tobias Bücker had received clear orders from team trainer Ewald Meier to drive a fast marathon, but not to take any risks to secure his dressage score for the team. Bücker came 12th in the marathon and herewith secured his leading position after dressage and marathon.

Individual driver Dieter Baackmann from Germany won the marathon in Greven. The 45-year-old driver from the nearby village of Emsdetten drove his pair of German riding ponies wonderfully through the obstacles, claiming several Top Five places. His compatriot Daniel Schneiders, also an individual competitor for Germany, took the second place, ahead of Dutch team member Karel van Kekem.
Daniel Schneiders has taken over the lead in the standings from dressage winner Stephan Koch, who has dropped to the second place after ending on the 22nd place in the marathon. Germany’s Steffen Abicht has climbed to the third position. As the difference between the number one and three is only 2,02 penalty points, the medals will be divided between the German drivers after another thrilling cones competition.

Twenty-two year old Dutch driver Arjo van Kekem, whose father Karel is competing for the Netherlands in the pairs class, won the marathon. Arjo set the fastest times in four of the eight wonderful marathon obstacles, driving his Hackney pony Domero. Maxime Maricourt from France, driving his catching skewbald stallion Judo, took the second place in the challenging course, ahead of individual competitor Melanie Becker from the Netherlands. Both Dutch drivers, as well as all other competitors from the Netherlands, were cheered throughout the competition by a big group of orange-dressed driving fans.
By winning the marathon, Arjo has taken over the lead in the standings. He is only 0,69 penalty points ahead of 2005 World Champion Suzy Stafford from the USA and 0,99 ahead of his compatriot Melanie Becker. The Top Five are all within one cone, so anything can happen in the final obstacle driving competition.