The German national anthem sounds three times in the Prize of Sparkasse

It was a close competition between the Nations Cup teams Germany I and Germany II in the Prize of Sparkasse! And not just because the thermometer showed 30 degrees in the shade, but above all because two teams battled it out at eye level. Diana Harwardt and Peter Künne on the other hand pretty much won the pair vaulting hands down in the Prize of Sparkasse.

At 2 p.m. not only the summer had reached a new highlight at the Soers, but also the mood in the sold-out Albert-Vahle Arena. The Nations Cup in the Prize of Sparkasse was on the  agenda. Eight teams, each comprising of two individual vaulters and a group, took part. Germany II and Germany I were the clear favourites and they were the last team to go.


German II competed first. Julian Wilfling and Jannik Heiland, the two individual vaulters delivered the second and fourth best results among the individuals. Then, it was the group’s turn, VV Ingelsberg with its motto “As long as it goes bang”. And it did. They performed one highlight after the other and took that many risks that the crowd sometimes held its breath. A super performance that was even better than the group’s result the day before. The lunger, Alexander Hartl, said her horse Fider Rock had been a little more nervous the day before. “Aachen is something really special for the horses too!” Today he is a lot more relaxed. Hartl’s conclusion: “I think all our performances lived up to the expectations.” Germany II went into the lead.


Then came Kathrin Meyer for Germany I, the first time yesterday’s winner of the Ladies classification in the Prize of Sparkasse had the honour of taking part in the Nations Cup as an individual vaulter. It is good to have a team one can rely on in such moments. And Kathrin certainly has that in the shape of her mother Sonja holding the lunge and her four-legged partner, San Classico, who they both jointly schooled themselves. She performed a flawless routine again today. However, with a score of 8.454 she didn’t match that of the two individual vaulters of Germany II. So, it was still an open race. The next to go was Viktor Brüsewitz, who except for a small wobbler repeated his sensational freestyle performance of yesterday and was rewarded with the high score of 8.762.

So it was all down to group Norka from VV Köln-Dünnwald. They are used to winning, they claimed the World Championship title last year. Whereby they do have a lot of new team members this year, but that didn’t affect their performance at all. With a score of 8.987 they went into the lead ahead of VV Ingelsberg and sealed the victory of Germany I with a total score of 26.203, Germany II finished second on 25.828 points.


Third place went to the Netherlands with 24.025 points thanks to the fantastic performances of the just 17-year-old Sam Dos Santos (8.484), Annebeth Kubbe with Evermore R (7.761) and the Gruppe VV de Wittegheit with Wim, lunged by Meta Jans.


Convincing win for Harwardt and Künne in the Pas de Deux


The first winners on the first CHIO Sunday had already been decided in the morning: Diana Harwardt and Peter Künne with DSP Sir Lau Lau, lunged by Hendrik Falk in the Pas de Deux of the Prize of Sparkasse. They came second at the World Championships in 2022 as well as at the World Cup Finals in 2023 and they have also come under the top three in the Prize of Sparkasse at the CHIO Aachen. However, they haven’t yet succeeded in claiming the victory. That changed this weekend. With two victories in the two competitions, where they were the only duo that received a score over 8, nobody was able to take the overall victory away from them. Their overall score: 8.558. “It is of course a long-awaited dream,” said Peter Künne. “All of the training of the last years has paid off. We have been a team for seven years now. That’s wonderful, of course! Winning Aachen is every vaulter’s dream,” he exclaimed also on behalf of his vaulting partner. Seven years à approx. 20 hours a week training, that means 7,840 hours of training before finally achieving today’s triumph.

Second place went to Switzerland to Ilona Hannich and Li Laffer with Gitano des Monods (Lunger: Alana Sohm) on a score of 7.920. The Austrian duo, Eva Nagiller and Romana Hintner, came third on Idefix, lunged by Klaus Haidacher (7,657).


Conclusion of the national coach


Kai Vorberg has already been the co-trainer in Aachen several times already, but this year was the first time that he took on the role of the national coach. He said it had been totally different than he had expected: “There was the odd minute yesterday, when I thought I was the loneliest person on the grounds.” After all, he had to make some difficult decisions. “You can’t do everyone justice and take a fair, well-informed decision in 45 seconds.” But regarding the sport his heart-felt comment was: “Even if the German national anthem wasn’t played once (in the individual classification of the men, editor’s note), and we’ll work on that, I am totally satisfied with the overall performance of the German team!”

The photo shows the winners of the Prize of Sparkasse (Nations Cup Freestyle), Team Germany I. Photo: CHIO Aachen/Michael Strauch

The photo shows the winners of the Prize of Sparkasse (Nations Cup Freestyle), Team Germany I. Photo: CHIO Aachen/Michael Strauch