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Nations Cup: Norway delivered, Poland won

Polish Victory. Photo: Helene Gjerde Aamdal

After an extremely exciting jump-off at Gjelsten Arena, the Norwegian team had to settle for second place. But it wasn't without a fight that the Polish climbed the podium.

A total of 12 teams lined up for the Longines EEF Series Nation Cup in Lier on Friday afternoon. In the Nations Cup, the best three out of four riders on each team count, and the competition spans two rounds over the same course.

Leading Before the Second Round

With three impressive and faultless performances, Norway allowed their fourth rider to sit out the first round. Going into the second round, they were tied with Poland.

Pål Flam was the first Norwegian to compete after the break, incurring eight faults, while Therese Søhol Henriksen followed with a clear round. As the third rider, Ingrid Gjelsten delivered a strong performance with only four faults.

Performed under pressure: Oda and Carabella. Photo: Mette Sattrup

Before the final Norwegian team rider took the course, Norway and Poland were tied, both with four faults. The Polish rider Marek Waclawik guided Kathmandau flawlessly through the challenging course once again. Oda Charlotte Lyngvær was Norway's anchor. The pressure was immense:

  • "I tried not to think about it; I deliberately didn't look at the scoreboard. But the announcer mentioned it right before I was about to start, and I knew Mikael wanted me to ride the jump-off, so I got a bit of a lump in my throat... But no, I just tried to focus on the plan and keep a cool head. Carabella is a mare who does everything if I ride the way she likes. Then she fights all the way. So, I just focused on that. It was great to get that clear round. Good feeling," said Oda.

Exciting Jump-Off

National team leader and Chef d’Equipe, Mikael Kolind, got his wish. It came down to a jump-off between Norway and Poland, Oda and Marek. Marek delivered a faultless round.

The atmosphere was palpable. After several downpours, people had taken shelter. Inside Violetta, it was dead silent as Oda rode. To win the team title, she needed to ride both fast and clear.

  • "I didn't feel entirely confident because I haven't ridden fast with Carabella very often. But I thought I just had to go and try my best. The start went great; then I should have taken a bit more time with that oxer. Easy to say in hindsight. I was very fast on the first, second, and third, but on the fourth, I was a bit too deep. That's something you need to train for. I've ridden the course a hundred times in my mind afterward. Now I have to start letting it go," Oda smiles.

The Norwegian Team. Photo: Mette Sattrup

It ended with eight faults in the jump-off. But what a performance! What a team! Mikael Kolind has every reason to be very satisfied with today's efforts:

  • "Everyone absolutely wanted to win today, and they did a fantastic job together. They won in Denmark, and they were so close to winning here as well – that’s impressive."

He believes this performance has secured Norway a place in the semifinals.

Performs Best Under Pressure

During the subsequent press conference, the Polish anchor rider explained the excellent partnership he has with his horse:

  • "I’ve had the horse since he was a foal, and I also rode his father. That’s why he's a special horse for me. We are so bonded because I’ve ridden him from the start. He wasn’t an easy horse. He didn’t compete in young horse classes; it was hard to teach him anything; he was spooky. But as he got older and gained more confidence, he became the best."

Marek Waclawik further explained that he performs best under pressure. With each round, he became more and more focused. This paid off. Along with good teammates, they reached the top today, with a Norwegian top team close behind. The Swedish team came in third.

Marek Waclawik and Kathmandau - perform best under pressure. Photo: Mette Sattrup


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