Germany 2 beats Germany 1 in the Prize of Sparkasse, Pas de Deux goes to Harwardt and Künne

“It can carry on just like that,” was the conclusion of ALRV board member and CHIO Aachen Head of Sport, Birgit Rosenberg, after the first weekend at the Soers in 2024. A statement that above all the vaulters of Team Germany 2 would no doubt be happy to sign off.

The crowning glory of the first CHIO Aachen weekend was the Nations’ Cup in the Prize of Sparkasse. Here, the participating countries are represented by two individual vaulters and one group, all of whom perform their freestyle routine. The German teams were favourites to win again this year. This particularly applied to Team Germany 1, after Team Norka had won the Group classification hands down. The winner of the Ladies classification, Kathrin Meyer, should actually have been in the team. But since she had competed yesterday although she had a virus, she was replaced by Thomas Brüsewitz, who came second in the Men’s competition on Saturday. Team Germany 1 was rounded off by Annemie Szemes, who came second in the freestyle yesterday. So it was a strong squad, who were however under pressure, because Team Germany 2 had performed three fantastic freestyles. The score to beat was 25.461.


Thomas Brüsewitz with William II Z, lunged by Maik Husmann, improved his performance significantly compared to the previous day and laid a solid foundation for his team colleagues. Annemie Szemes started off well, but then something seemed to distract her horse Rubinio, who was lunged by Nina Vorberg. He bucked and Annemie had to interrupt her freestyle and restart. That cost her valuable points. Finishing on a score of 7.479, she remained well below her potential. Team Norka from VV Köln-Dünnwald did its best to compensate, but at the end of the day they had one thousandth of a point less than Team Germany 2, Fredenbeck Junior I. Their total score 24.914 which meant second place for Germany 1 – and the victory for Germany 2.


The winners were ecstatic. In addition to the teenagers from Fredenbeck (Average age: 13) Germany 2 comprised of Alina Roß with Baron, lunged by her father, Volker Roß and Alice Layher with Lambic van Strokappeleken, lunged by her sister Helen. It was a rookie team. None of them had ever taking part in a Nations’ Cup in Aachen before. “We were worried about whether we would hold our own here,” Fredenbeck’s lunger, Gesa Bührig, stated. Whereby she knows what it is like to perform in Aachen from zero to hundred. She succeeded in doing the same a few years ago with her senior team, which later claimed the world championship title and shortly afterwards disbanded. She was surprised that things went so well for her young team in the Albert-Vahle Arena, which made it all the more gratifying of course. Especially “since she would have been sad if we hadn’t competed in Aachen after the senior team disbanded.“ Now she brought a new team here and by the looks of things not for the last time either.


Alina Roß has competed at the Soers four times already, but has never been part of a Nations’ Cup team before. Although in her opinion the weekend “didn’t go too well” otherwise, in her debut appearance for Germany she was able to significantly contribute towards the victory. Awarded a score of 8.503, her’s was the second best freestyle of the day. Only Thomas Brüsewitz achieved a higher score. Alice Layher won the U21 World Championship title last year and it was her first season competing for the senior team. Her summary of the weekend: “I was really nervous during the compulsory test. But today I was able to really enjoy it!”


And with “it” she most certainly meant above all the atmosphere and the crowd in Aachen. The arena was full, the atmosphere was fantastic. It is difficult to explain to anyone, who has never done vaulting, what it is like to run into the circle, one of the athletes of the team from RFZV St. Hubertus Herne stated on behalf of her lunger, who was so emotional that she couldn’t speak for tears. Considering they are not even part of the German squad, it was a huge victory for the vaulters from the Ruhr region to even qualify for Aachen. They didn’t make it to the Nation’s Cup, but they were allowed to compete in the Group freestyle in the Prize of Sparkasse today and walked off with the victory. But that was just the cherry on top of the icing. “Running into the circle here is like Christmas, Easter and a birthday all at once and even better,” the athlete from Herne explained.


Pas de Deux goes to Harwardt and Künne


Diana Harwardt and Peter Künne know what their colleagues are talking about. They won the Pas de Deux in 2023 already and left no doubt about their supremacy this year either. They already had a huge lead with DSP Sir Laulau, lunged by Andrea Harwardt, the day before and today they were even awarded a 9. The combined score of their two freestyles was 8.825, which left the second German duo trailing behind. That was Gisa Sternberg and Linda Otten, who collected an overall score of 8.112 with Espresso, lunged by Cornelia Ammermann.


All in all a totally successful weekend for the vaulters, in the opinion of the national coach, Kai Vorberg: “As is always the case in Aachen, it was a fantastic experience. In terms of the sport, all of the athletes have to practice one thing or the other. But a small reminder here and there is always good!”

The photo shows the winners of the Prize of Sparkasse | Nations' Cup, Team Germany 2, as well as ALRV President Stefanie Peters, the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Sparkasse Aachen, Dr Christian Burmester, and FN President Hans-Joachim Erbel. Photo: CHIO Aachen/Jasmin Metzner

The photo shows the winners of the Prize of Sparkasse | Nations' Cup, Team Germany 2, as well as ALRV President Stefanie Peters, the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Sparkasse Aachen, Dr Christian Burmester, and FN President Hans-Joachim Erbel. Photo: CHIO Aachen/Jasmin Metzner