Sports

Vlasov rides to three golds in France

It was a historic weekend in the sport of equestrian for The Bahamas as rider Anna Camille Vlasov picked up three victories at the Jumping du Golfe de St. Tropez HUBSIDE event in St. Tropez, Grimaud, France. It is one of the most prestigious equestrian riding events in France, and Vlasov was victorious at the Grand Prix CSI 1* level.

It was the first victory for Equestrian Bahamas at a major equestrian event in Europe since the local governing body for the sport became a member of FEI (International Federation for Equestrian Sports). As a result, it was the first time that the Bahamian anthem was played in Europe for an equestrian event.

“To hear the national anthem was very emotional at first but then every time I hear it now I just get filled with joy and excitement. What an honor it is to be the first and it really shows that hard work pays off. I’ve been working very hard to achieve this goal for the last four years,” Vlasov said.

Equestrian Bahamas was diligent and persistent in the process of ensuring it became a member of FEI – something that came to fruition in November of 2019. Led by its President Catherine Ramsingh-Pierre, the organization is proud of Vaslov’s accomplishments.

“We are very proud of Millie’s (Vlasov) accomplishments this summer, especially competing in the challenging conditions of the COVID-19 era. It is thrilling to see The Bahamas achieving new heights in Equestrian Sport on the international stage,” Ramsingh-Pierre said. “We are proud to have several Bahamian riders moving into the elite levels in Europe and North America, and we look forward to their continued success.”

The anthem was played on three separate days. Vlasov and her teammate, Beaumont W/V, a KWPN (Dutch Warmblood) horse, were in the show jumping category, jumping at three different heights.

On Thursday, they were victorious at the 1.20 meters (m) height. They returned on Friday and repeated their performance at the 1.25m height. They had the day off on Saturday before returning to the course on Sunday to pick up their final victory in the 1.30m course in the Grand Prix CSI 1*. Vlasov competed against 10 competitors in each of the heights.

“All three of my performances where very technical but I am very pleased with the outcome of all of my courses. My horse and I won three days in a row, finishing the weekend with the win of the 1* Grand Prix this morning (Sunday),” Vlasov said. “The last one was the most difficult. It was a very technical course and much higher than the other two, so I had to put everything into my last win.”

The Bahamian and Beaumont W/V have been working together for the past three years and they have created a special bond.

Based in France, Vlasov has two trainers – Gilles Bertrand de Balanda and her part-time trainer Abdel Said, who is based in Belgium. She has been riding horses all her life and has been in the sport professionally for four years. While at school in London, England, she rode but only for leisure.

The 21-year-old’s goal is to ride for The Bahamas at the Pan American Games, Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and then eventually, the Olympics. Her dream has always been to represent her country in the Olympics.

Earlier this summer, Vlasov and Beaumont M/V finished third at a competition in Deauville, France.

Vlasov will be participating in more competitions this year. She has another event in St. Tropez in October, for two weeks, where she will be taking all four of her horses. Then, there is an event in Spain in November if COVID-19 allows it. There is a tour in Dubai for three months set for December to February that she will also be looking to compete in.

The young rider said she is grateful for her parents, Peter and Pippa Vlasov. Also, she said she is appreciative of Ramsingh-Pierre and Equestrian Bahamas for facilitating her competitions in Europe.

Vlasov is sponsored by Pirate Republic Brewing and Bahamas Ferries.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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