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Swedes setting the stage for a clean sweep: “We want to be on the podium!”

Tuesday, 22 August 2017
European Championships 2017

Photo (c) World of Showjumping The Swedes are ready to flex muscles at the Europeans in Gothenburg. Photo (c) World of Showjumping.

The 2017 Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden are underway and it was a very happy host team that met the press on Monday afternoon.

Team Sweden’s Chef d’Equipe Henrik Ankarcona was all smiles ahead of the competition-kick-off on Wednesday, and said to World of Showjumping: “I think having a championship on home soil happens more or less just once in a rider’s or Chef d’Equipe’s career, so it means a lot.”

“I am super confident,” said Ankarcona about his squad. “They are all very experienced and the horses are fit, so I have high hopes. All in all, I think the horses performed well the whole year and I feel that I am here with the right team.”

As Ankarcona pointed out, the competition will be fierce though. “There are for sure seven or eight teams that will fight for the podium,” he continued. “If you see the Division1 in the FEI Nations Cup for example, it has been really tight this year. I don’t dare to pick one team – they are all going to be hungry and they are here to fight. Normally you also always have one team coming up that you maybe didn’t expect,” he reflected on the coming rivalries. “I put my money on the Swedes; the rest I don’t know. We want to be on the podium!”

One rider that was happy to be back on home soil, was Henrik von Eckermann. “As always, I am very happy to be at home in front of the Swedish crowds,” he said. “I am not here just to participate. My horse feels really good, almost too good. The place seems great, the ground feels good – so far there is nothing to complain about.”

Henrik also pointed out his great belief in his team mates: “As a team we all have a goal of standing on the podium, and I think we have a chance to do that. For sure all of us need to have a good day, and we all know how quick things can turn – but I believe we have a chance.”

Douglas Lindelöw has a great summer behind him, and is looking forward to seeing how far his horse can go. “It feels very good, having the Europeans here,” he said. “I think the venue looks fantastic. My show plan has gone nearly as we wanted and my horse has felt really good the last few months.”

Lindelöw looks bright at Zacramento’s future: “I got him about one and a half years ago, and sooner than I expected I felt that he is a horse for the bigger classes,” Douglas said.

“As a team, we are very excited and we have a very good chemistry – we laugh a lot,” Lindelöw continued. “But, we can also be serious – and we really want to do something big here. For my individual part, I would like to do better than my 20th place in Aachen in 2015.”

Malin Baryard was excited – very excited. “I think we have to take this opportunity, because I think it is the only opportunity we will get – we have to make the very best of it! My number one goal is to take a medal with the team and then we see it from there. My horse feels really good and I am confident – I think we had a good program this year.”

Being one of the most experienced riders on the Swedish team, Malin was asked to reveal the secret to her long-lasting career. “I think I have been very lucky with horse owners and sponsors. But really, at the end of the day, I think it is only about my love for the horses and the sport – I really love working with the horses, every day. I also love the competition part – I love competing and trying to improve.”

Even with all the mileage, Malin admitted that competing at home will still give an extra kick: “I am going to be crazy nervous, for sure!” she laughed. “But, normally it brings out that little extra – hopefully it won’t take over and only make us all that little bit better. I am sure we will all be a little more nervous than normal.”

Peder Fredricson and H&M All In are surely a crowd favourite, and a little bit more – also in the international jumping community. “As a rider, you never see yourself as a favourite, because you know how easily and quick things can turn,” Peder said. “Of course, I am happy that everyone is being so positive, but as a rider myself I know I need to do a good job and I hope my horse will be in form,” he continued. “So far everything has gone according to plan. For the moment, I don’t feel much pressure – I am only planning to do my job and I know there are many days ahead that I need to stay focused.”

Any goals for Peder? “Gold of course – I think everyone has that in their mind coming here.”


Text and picture © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen

No reproduction without permission



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