Jos Lansink defeated three women finalists to take the individual world show jumping title for Belgium in a gripping horse-swapping contest during yesterday's closing session of the World Equestrian Games in Aachen. At 45 the oldest rider in the final, Lansink had won an Olympic team gold medal for the Netherlands in 1992 and the World Cup final of 1994 before taking Belgian nationality about 10 years ago.
History was made on two counts, firstly by three women - Beezie Madden of the United States, Australia's Edwina Alexander and US-born Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum who now rides for Germany - reaching the final; secondly by three of the riders jumping clear on their own and each others' horses and therefore having to jump-off against the clock on their own mounts.
Lansink's giant grey partner Cavalor Cumano bore no resemblance to the smaller and sharper mounts of the three women but, though he looked less comfortable, he was clear on all of them. Seeming happy to be back soaring over fences on his own lovely stallion, he was also clear in the jump-off and he knew the gold medal was secure when Madden's Authentic and Michaels-Beerbaum's Shutterfly made single errors, the former in the fastest time of the jump-off.
Michael Whitaker would have made the four-rider final but for a single error during Saturday's two rounds on Portofino. So Britain's only medals were won by the eventers who took team silver, with Zara Phillips receiving the individual gold.Reuse content