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Otto Becker: “When you have faults with only three riders on the team, it will not be as close and not as thrilling as it is now"

Sunday, 23 September 2018
FEI World Equestrian Games 2018

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson. Otto Becker. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

World of Showjumping caught up with German Chef d'Equipe Otto Becker, who shares his thoughts on the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon and reflects on the team competition's future. 

- About the German performance so far -

“It has been fantastic for us and I’m so proud of the whole team. I have a young and inexperienced team here with only one experienced rider in Marcus, and they have done such a great job. They rode so lovely and did really good rounds and I’m totally happy with the medal and how they presented themselves here. They came here as a team, they fought as a team and they won a medal as a team. It is a great feeling. Unbelievable.” 

- On Sunday’s final -

“I think the outcome is very open. We have seen it the last days with three tough rounds where changes have happened every day. We will now have another two rounds and I think that anyone of the top five or six can win.” 

- About Simone Blum being in the gold position ahead of the final -

“I don’t know if it is a good or a bad thing. When you have a rider with more experience they know the situation and the pressure that comes with. It is a difficult position to go in as the leading rider. But on the other hand she is in a super form, and the horse has jumped fantastic. This combination has so much confidence here, and they love it here in this arena. Simone is new and maybe that can be an advantage. They are anyway ready and I hope she will win a medal as she deserves it in my opinion.”

- About the team rules changes for the coming Olympics -

“When you saw the team class here on Friday with four riders and how close it was until the end, when you get the decision with the last rider and with a jump-off — that is the kind of sport that you see in every Nations Cup now when it is four riders. I hope that FEI President Ingvar De Vos, who was here and saw this thrilling class, will reflect on that. I think it should always be four riders, also in the future.”

“When you have faults with only three riders on the team, it will not be as close and not as thrilling as it is now. For sure we will have a winner and maybe we will have a good class, but it will not be as exciting as the Nations Cups can be today and as the team class was here on Friday. A class like the one on Friday will, in my opinion, not happen with only three riders — it will not be this close and this thrilling. I know that we in the equestrian sport have to be open for changes and also open for new formats, but the last thing we have left is the Nations Cup and the Nations Cup series. I don’t understand the decisions and changes that have been made by the FEI regarding the Nations Cup during the last two or three years, and I hope they will wake up in the future to save it as it is our main competition. The riders, all our owners, breeders — everybody are investing and fighting for their own country. And in my opinion the FEI should take more care of their main product. It is not only about the decision with three or four riders; it is more things behind my opinion."

"The other aspect of the new Olympic format is that it will not be the teams that will go first and then the individuals. It is the other way around with the individuals first and then the teams. This is in my opinion not a good thing for the team spirit. Now everybody fights for the team and when that is done, the ones that are qualified can ride their individual final and the whole team will stand behind them. With the new format everyone will first try and ride for themselves and then comes the team, and this makes it more difficult to build a team and to have a team. And it will probably lead to conflicts, so I prefer it the other way around." 

"These two aspects of the new Olympic format are not favourites of mine."


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