Equestrian vaulter Isabella Napthali, 13, wins gold for Australia

SADDLED UP: Isabella Napthali has won gold for Australia at the 10th annual International Vaulting Competition in Krumke, Germany. Napthali won first place in the competition with a borrowed horse. Photo: File

SADDLED UP: Isabella Napthali has won gold for Australia at the 10th annual International Vaulting Competition in Krumke, Germany. Napthali won first place in the competition with a borrowed horse. Photo: File

Not many 13-year-olds can say they’ve won a gold medal for Australia – but equestrian vaulter Isabella Napthali has done just that.

The Chevalier College, Bowral student competed at the 10th annual International Vaulting Competition in Krumke, Germany from Saturday, June 29 to Sunday, July 2.

Napthali’s mother Maria, who accompanied her daughter to the competition, said she was very proud to see the 13-year-old vaulter compete and stand on the podium.

For Napthali and Maria, it was a special moment as the vaulter received her hard-won gold medal with the Australian anthem playing in the background.

“Coming fourth after the compulsory round, she gave it her all and had an amazing freestyle round,” Maria said.

“She did herself, her country, her coaches, her parents and her friends proud, and secured overall first place.

Napthali’s mother praised her daughter’s strong work effort throughout training in the lead-up to the competition.

“Bella works so very hard and trains nearly every day,” she said.

“To compete at an international competition on borrowed horses, and to do so well.

“It’s not a small achievement.”

The competition is a huge milestone in Napthali’s growing equestrian career.

The well-regarded competition is significant to Krumke, a tiny town in the north of Germany with a population of 149.

Many high-level members of the German vaulting community attend the competition to further their careers.

Vaulting judges have attended the competition, and picked representatives for their country for the World Equestrian Games.

The competition attracts some big talent, as Germany is one of the leaders in the sport.

Napthali arrived in Münster, Germany for ten days of preparation ahead of the competition – going straight into training, first on wooden barrels, then with the horse she would compete on for just two training sessions together.

She then made her way to Krumke for the competition.

As part of the 2017 Equestrian Vaulting Exchange to Germany and Denmark, Napthali also spent a week at a camp in Denmark led by world champion lunger Lasse Kristensen.

“The kids learned so much,” Napthali’s mother said.

“While working really hard, they got to play as well.”

The trip was rounded off with some family time in Austria, another week of training for Napthali as well as the thrill of attending the World Equestrian Games in Aachen.

- Debra Cloran, Chevalier College

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