Joanne Eccles successfully retained her World individual female vaulting champion title in Le Mans, France this weekend, with Joanne alongside sister Hannah also winning Silver in the Pas De Deux.
Showing her consistency Joanne led throughout the four rounds of her individual female class and won by a comfortable margin rarely seen at championships (nearly 0.5), finishing on 8.499. Rikki Laumann from Denmark finished 2nd, and in 3rd was Sarah Kay from Germany. Joanne was vaulting on her own WH Bentley, lunged by her father John Eccles; this was Bentleys 50th international competition. The win takes Joanne's winning streak to 4 consecutive championships, now being double European (2009, 2011) and double World champion (2010).
Joanne's younger sister, Hannah Eccles, also impressed to finish in 8th place, also on WH Bentley; this was her first top ten placing at a World Championships, whilst Lucy Phillips finished 16th on her own Pitucelli.
In the Pas de Deux competition the Eccles sisters went on to win Silver, in a very closely fought class, with the top 6 pairs all producing an extremely high level of vaulting. The two favourites from USA finished in 3rd and 4th but it was an Austrian pair, L. Wacha and J. Lindner, that took the top honours. The Eccles sisters produced a very smooth fluent routine on WH Bentley, to finish second, adding to the Silver medal they won at the European Championships last year.
After a difficult first freestyle performed in 35 degree heat, the British senior squad (Lydia Barham, Paige Brown, Sara Shortland, Staphanie Hunter, William Jenkins and Jessica Haynes) went on to produce a smooth and clean routine in the second round to finish in 8th place with their horse Go For Gold, lunged by Julie Newell.
For more information about the competition visit: www.pole-europeen-du-cheval.com