Postcard from Jerez: Vaulting

The U.S.?s Devon Maitozo shines in first round vaulting compulsory exercises, writes Jan Weber in this exclusive report from the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain.
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The U.S.?s Devon Maitozo shines in first round vaulting compulsory exercises, writes Jan Weber in this exclusive report from the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain.

Sept. 12, 2002 -- The vaulters completed their first round of compulsory exercises in the brand new facilities at the Chapin venue. Thirty men, 45 women and 14 teams all had an opportunity to show the thousands of spectators, judges and media their technical skills today. The seven compulsory exercises are designed to show a vaulter's range of stretch, flexibility, strength and precision. The vaulters' teammates, their horses, were judged and scored on their way of going as well. The vaulter's and horse's scores will work together to determine which vaulter-horse combinations will advance to the next round.

Devon Maitozo completed an impeccable set of compulsories, which showed the maturity and experience of this former World Champion. His partner and horse, Abu Dhabi 2, of Germany, broke gait. With a "things just happen" smile, Maitozo commented, "Well, my horse trotted in my Down and Up (one of the seven compulsories with a required gait of canter at this competition), and it's an automatic three point deduction! I'm feeling good and I know my kur will go better tomorrow!"

Maitozo also admitted an emotional moment following his performance: "I chose a piano arrangement of my father's; I left the arena and wished he might have been here," said Maitozo. Mr. Maitozo, a musician, passed away in 2000 but had the opportunity to look on as Devon accepted the Gold medal at WEG III in Rome.

Yossi Martonovich, longuer for the only vaulting horse shipped from the United States, was thrilled with his horse's first appearance in the arena with vaulter Samantha Smith. Martonovich is longeing the only draft in this competition. "Doc went well, he's feeling good and very relaxed," said Martonovich. "He had 10 days to rest near Amsterdam following his trip, but now we are back to work!" Doc, a Belgian, will carry two of the American vaulters at this competition.

The freestyle (kur) will begin tomorrow and will complete the first round of competition. When the day is done, only 15 men, 15 women and 12 teams will advance to the second round. Tomorrow will be a spectacular day of men's and team freestyle. No matter what the outcome I know that each of these athletes and their horses who rose to the top level in their own countries have already proven that they are champions.

FIRST ROUND COMPULSORIES -- RESULTS


Note: These standings show the top three competitors in each division and the U.S. placings.

Men (30 men)

1. Matthais Lang, France with Farceur Breceen

2. Gero Meyer, Germany with Kolumbus

3. Jan Bayer, Germany with Aladin 169

10. Devon Maitozo, USA with Abu Dhabi 2

11. Erik Martonovich, USA with Doc

24. Kenny Geisler, USA with Markant 211


Women (45 women)

1. Nadia Zulow, Germany with Rubins Universe

2. Rikke Laumann, Denmark with Milano

3. Ines Juckstock, Germany with Dallmers Little Foot

9. Pamela Geisler, USA with Abu Dhabi 2

14. Samantha Smith, USA with Doc

24 Jill Main, USA with Windsor 438


Team (14 Teams)

1. Germany with Wanderer

2. Switzerland with Le Grand

3. Sweden with Galestro

6. USA with Zar Ivan