It was a long wait… but finally, Gregory won his first individual medal in a big championship!
The pair of Gregory and Conrad de Hus was perfect in the European Championship of Show Jumping in Aachen. After the first round, Greg realized that he had ridden his stallion to a fast and clear round that had left him in 4th position after the speed class. In the two following rounds, which also counted towards the team placing, the Belgian team did not have a good performance. But Gregory, as an individual, committed only one fault. He thus dropped down in the rankings to a provisional 9th place but the top nine riders were separated by less than one fault ahead of the final on Sunday.
The course designer, Frank Rothenberger, constructed a difficult course with a triple combination that posed many problems, even for horses who don’t usually have problems in the triple. Gregory Wathelet did what he had to do and jumped without fault. After the first round, he jumped into second place and went on to jump clear in the second round of the individual final. All the pressure was thus on the shoulders of the Olympic Champion and World Champion, Jeroen Dubbeldam, but the Dutchman was perfect and, following his performance, now possesses the title of gold medalist, European Champion. The silver medal went to Gregory Wathelet and the bronze was earned by Simon Delestre of France.
“I am obviously very happy with this silver medal. Jeroen did not make one fault during the entire week and he deserves this victory. I worked all season with Conrad in preparation for this European Championship. I really believes in his chances, for he is a super horse. He was very fresh this week and jumped really well. I honestly thank my entire team, for without them, this championship would not have been possible. Whether they are near or far, they all have contributed to this victory. Particularly, I want to thank Xavier Marie, Conrad’s owner, who gave me the chance to ride such a special horse.”