January 28, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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Wilm Vermeir surprisingly wins first jump at World Cup Finals in Mechelen | Equestrian sport

The Christmas scene became Vermeer’s Christmas Miracle.

At Nekkerhallen in Mechelen, he sent his horse Iq van het Steentje clear on the course in a jump of five over 1.60 metres. The 14-year-old horse also set the fastest time. Good for Vermeer’s first World Cup victory.

German Hans-Dieter Dreher finished second with Koss Koss at 74 one-hundredths, and his compatriot Daniel Deusser, who lives in Mechelen, came third with Tobago at 94 one-hundredths.

Peter DeVos had to finish fourth with Mom’s Toupie, and Jill Thomas finished fifth with Calleryama after a jump foul. Thibaut Spets, 12th with King, José Virloi, 13th with Igor, and Nils Bruinsels, 14th with Deluxe, also finished in the World Cup points.

Eleven years ago a Belgian won the World Cup Tour. In 2011, Gregory Waterlet did. For Vermeer, this is the first World Cup victory. In the previous edition, in 2019, he finished third on the podium in Mechelen with IQ.

“That was really cool, but this really is the crowning achievement of my career,” said the 44-year-old Vermeer. “I’m speechless and can’t comprehend it. I definitely want to thank the crowd. Their enthusiasm is really transmitted to the Belgian riders here.”

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