Finland regions

Finland’s Jone Illi crowned junior champion of the FEI European Show Jumping Championship

At the 2022 FEI European Show Jumping Championship for Young Riders, Juniors and Children in Oliva Nova, Spain, the medals were decided in Saturday’s competitions: first in the individual final for juniors, then in the team final for the children.

Presented by Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort, Saturday’s individual final for juniors started with the top 29 rider-horse combinations of the week. Before the final, Belgian Evelyne Putters held the lead with a score of 0.84, followed by Dutchman Nick Nanning with 2.43 in second, Hungarian Gyula Szuhai Jr. with 2.75 in third, Spain’s Olivia Alvarez Garcia with 2.96 in fourth and Norwegian Ingrid. Sandhei Bjørklund on 2.98 in fifth. However, the top eight were within four penalties, and the last two runs on 1.40m courses set by Santiago Varela shook up the standings.

After the first round, the Finns Jone Illi and Eolita L (Verdi TN x Daimler), the Belgians Aurealia Guisson and No Limit vh Legitahof Z (Nabab de Reve x Berlin) as well as the Irish Francis Derwin and AHG Whiterock Cruise Down (Cruisings Micky Finn x Touchdown) moved them up the standings – with Illi taking the lead on 3.03 ahead of Guisson in second on 3.40 and Derwin in third on 4 penalty points. A foot in the water for Putters and Nabeau van het Migroveld Z (Nabab de Reve x Taran de La Pomme) left her fourth with a total score of 4.84 after the first round, while Irishmen Tom Wachman and Lazzaro Delle Schiave (Acodetto 2 x Gluecksgriff) jumped clear – putting the pressure on the top four, when he was fifth in 6.18.

There was no margin for error as the Juniors qualified for the second round of their individual final. Last year’s European Champion in the Children’s category, Hungary’s Gyula Szuhai Jr. jumped flawlessly, finishing his first junior championship with an all-around score of 6.75 – good enough for fifth place. Dutch rider Nick Nanning and Bandia (Clinsmann 2 x Quintero) also jumped clear, moving them up to fourth place with a total score of 6.43. Flawless runs by Belgian team gold medalists Putters and Guisson saw them finish with scores of 4.84 and 3.40 respectively, securing them another medal – the question was which one it would be. Last to start, Finland’s Jone Illi and the marvelous Eolita L made short work of the second and last round of the individual final. Finishing clear, the pair ended their week at Oliva Nova with an aggregate score of 3.03, winning individual gold, while Guisson added silver to his collection and bronze in putters.

“I had a great week, my horse was absolutely on top,” Illi said after his win. “We just jumped the Baltic Nordic Championships, where we won and that’s only a week ago. She jumped absolutely perfectly, even though it’s hot – in Finland, the weather is never like this !

“I didn’t expect it at all, it’s great. I’ve had Eolita for three years, it came to me from the Netherlands. It’s very spicy, but it always gives its best , she’s a beautiful mare”, smiles Illi.

source: press release