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Vaz stole spotlight
Justin Vaz and Jason Walter climaxed the 2007 Equestrian Federation of Jamaica (EFJ) season in fine style by winning the final leg of the category 'A' show jumping league at the St. Ann Polo Club Christmas show.
This marked the final event on the 2007 EFJ calendar, one of the more memorable in recent history, having showcased some notable perfor-mances in all categories.
The EFJ League is a jumping competition comprising five legs throughout the year, with th of the jumps set at a maximum of 1.05 metres for League A and 0.85m for League B. Each leg consists of two rounds of challenging courses, with the second the rider pitted round against the clock.
Five clear rounds
In an unprecedented performance, the 14-year-old Campion College student swept all five legs with clear rounds (no jumping faults) in every round and within the time allowed.
Wolmerian Jason Walter was the overall champion for League 'B', riding for Betty Wates' Ponderosa Stables. He had the distinction earlier this year of winning the FEI Children's show jumping competition in his first year of eligibility.
Other notable performances included St. Ann Polo Club rider Adam Black-Charlebois winning the Christmas Grand Prix (1.10m) and Allison Maitland-Walker capturing the 3'3" Power and Speed trophy.
"Justin has had an amazing year and I am very pleased that he managed to achieve clear rounds in all five legs of the League during this competition," said his coach, Yvonne Melville of the St. Ann Polo Club and Equestrian Centre.
In addition to dominating the League 'A' competition, Vaz also won the Hi-Pro Grand Prix for the year, winning two of the three competitions outright and placing second in the third. He also placed third in the FEI Adult Competition for show jumping, behind top adult riders, Bianca Fedele and Julian Hyde.
Earlier in the year, however, he upstaged Fedele by winning the FEI Dressage Challenge, competing as an adult for the first time and placing first overall in the Caribbean region.
Last year was Vaz's first competing as an adult in international competition, after completing a spectacular 14 and under stint in his three-year eligibility period as a child competitor.
Fedele, a 17-year-old student at Hillel, returned the favour later in the year by winning the FEI show jumping competition, edging out Julian Hyde and Vaz to take home the honours.
Vaz was a key member of the Jamaica National Team which won the Caribbean Equestrian Association Show Jumping Competition in 2007.
He was the senior member of the team on three of the four legs of the competition, posting four clear rounds while winning the Bermuda leg, and also leading the team to victory in Barbados, along with children's team members Shelby Wildish and Jason Walter, respectively.
The team of Bianca Fedele and Stephen McConnell won the Cayman leg of the completion, while Vaz teaming up with Walter came third in the Jamaican leg in November, in the process assuring Jamaica an unassailable points lead and victory in the overall standings under the guidance of national coach, Betty Wates.
Other good showings for 2007 include Jason Walter and Gabriela Ralston, who won the FEI Children's Show Jumping and Dressage competitions respectively.
Jason has performed particularly well this year, competing in the children's categories and being a key member of the Jamaican team, along with Justin, Shelby Wildish, Bianca Fedele and Stephen McConnell in the CEA competition, which Jamaica had not won for a long time.