Greece Claims Lion’s Share of Medals at Balkan Dressage Championships

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Greek gold medal winning children’s team at Balkan Dressage Championships. © 2012 Alexis Vassilopoulos/FEI

The Greek hosts of the Balkan Dressage Championships took ll of the gold medals on offer as well as claiming all three individual medals in both the junior and senior championships aganinst five visiting nations to Athens.

Staged at the Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Center, site of the equestrian events at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the Balkan Dressage Championships ran alongside last month’s Balkan Jumping Championships, in which Greek riders also dominated.

While dressage attracted a smaller field than the jumpers, there were still 42 riders and horses from six nations battling for honors.

Awarded top marks by four out of the five judges, Kyveli Tzortzaki led the home side to gold in the children’s team championship with the six-year-old Hannoverian mare Highnessy Newland. This partnership, together only since the summer, also went on to take the individual title. Team mate Vassiliki Voltairou with Chiron held on for silver by a slim margin over Lina Uzunhasan and Sjonie, of the Turkish silver medal squad in the team championship.

While Turkey was on the podium in both of the children’s classes, it was a Greek whitewash in the junior and senior individual sections in both divisions.

Elektra Stavrojianni and the Hannoverian mare Wendy claimed junior gold with a score of 70.950 per cent, just holding off Amaryllis Goulandris and Red Diamond. This year’s Greek champion, Fotini Georgitsou, took bronze with Kolliante.

“My performance was not good on the first day, but I rode better on the next two days and I won,” Elektra Stavroyianni said after receiving her gold medal. “This is my first big success and first title since I started riding. The truth is I didn’t expect to win. My mare, Wendy, was fantastic, despite her 18 years!”

Another new partnership shone in the senior individual, when Kelly Sklavounos and the 13-year-old gelding Quanderas made their debut in Greece, capturing gold with a score of 72.050 percent. Once again it was an all Greek lineup for the medals, with Alexandra Alexopoulou claiming silver on her last ride on Marco Polo, who was retired after the championships, while Katerina Los, winner of the national senior title for 2012, took the bronze with Largos 22.

There were not enough teams in junior and senior divisions so they were cancelled.

FEI Children Team Championship: GOLD – Greece (Highnessy Newland/Kyveli Tzortzaki, 71.034; Chiron/Vassiliki Voltairou, 68.586; Golden Eagle/Melina Zografou-Alexiou, 66.207; Helios d’un Soir/Lyda-Evdokia Anesti, 60,207), 205.827; SILVER – Turkey (Sjonie/Lina Uzunhasan, 68.276; Uvz/Pia-Alara Di Marci, 62.862; Asklepios/Defne Morova, 61.276; Phantastique/ Selen Akalin, 56.138), 192.414; BRONZE – Serbia (Quinta/Bojana Stojanov, 63.172; Arianna/Sara Poparic, 55.000; Szeplak Donci/Anja Markovic, 52.586), 170.758.

FEI Children Individual Championship Final: GOLD – Highnessy Newland/Kyveli Tzortzaki, GRE, 71.964; SILVER – Chiron/Vassiliki Voltairou, GRE, 68.250; BRONZE – Sjonie/Lina Uzunhasan, TUR, 67.893.

FEI Junior Individual Championship Final (Freestyle): GOLD – Wendy/ Elektra Stavrojianni (GRE), 70,950; SILVER – Red Diamond/Amaryllis-Aikaterini Goulandri (GRE), 70.175; BRONZE – Koliante/Fotini-Nepheli Georgitsou (GRE), 69.800.

FEI Senior Individual Championship Final (Freestyle): GOLD – Quanderas/Angela (Kelly) Sklavounos (GRE), 72.050; SILVER – Marco Polo/Alexandra Alexopoulou (GRE), 71.575; BRONZE – Largos 22/Katerina Los (GRE), 67.900.