Duns vaulter exceeeds all expectatons in Kentucky

DUNS equestrian vaulter Ross Foreman finished an impressive eighth place at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky last week, despite being told just a month before that he wouldn't be able to compete.

The only individual male vaulter selected by Great Britain to compete at the Games, Ross thrived on the world stage and excelled in all four of his rounds to finish in eight place overall. But it nearly wasn't to be for the young joiner, who was told just a month before he was due to leave for Kentucky that he wouldn't be fit to compete at the Games thanks to a medial collateral ligament injury.

Considering a number of set backs, Ross said that finishing eighth overall had exceeded his personal target. "It was fantastic, I'm really happy with it," he insisted. "My aim was to finish in the top 15 because a month before I went I was told I wouldn't be able to compete."

The 23-year-old explained: "I had a problem with my MCL ligament, but I knew I was still going to go for it. I don't really listen to the doctor - I'm not the best patient!"

Determined to make the WEGs, Ross made numerous trips to Easter Road, where Hibs physio Colin McLelland worked his magic.

But as one issue was resolved, Ross was dealt another blow. "The day before I left for Kentucky I got shingles, so I didn't have the best run up," he said. In the days leading up to the competition rounds, Ross was taking medication five times a day and hoping the antibiotics would kick in.

"It affected my training when I was out there because I just had no energy," he admitted. "Adrenaline got me through the first couple of days competition, then I was alright."

But despite the physical set backs prior to the start of the Games, which attracted a half million strong audience over the course of the competition, Ross completed four impressive rounds.

Speaking to The Berwickshire News this week, Lucy Bell, Chef d'Equipe of British Equestrian Vaulting, hailed Berwickshire's very own vaulting star as a "serious medal contender" of the future.

"Ross outperformed himself in all four rounds at the World Equestrian Games, culminating in a fantastic final freestyle round where he scored his highest mark to date to put him sixth best in that round," she said.

"He is a highly talented vaulter and there is so much more to come, I'm sure that in the next two years we could see a serious medal contender."

And Ross, who recently set up Duns-based joinery business RKF Joinery, has returned to Scotland hungrier than ever. He is already setting himself goals for the next WEGs in France - Normandy 2014. But before he went to Kentucky, the British vaulting champion was considering retirement from the sport.

"I was thinking of retiring after this and concentrating on my business, but I've come back hungry for more," Ross said. "I knew as soon as I finished that I would continue. I came eighth in the world and I didn't have a perfect run. The compulsory went well, I got a PB in that, but in the freestyle I slipped off the horse. I managed to turn it into a ground jump, then I just did random moves - I couldn't tell you what I did, I thought I was out of the top 15 but I got good scores!

"There wasn't a round when I didn't have a slip up, and if I can get to eighth in the world like that it makes me wonder what I can do. I'm hungry to find out! I want to be in the top five in the world and pushing for a medal in four years time."

When Ross was selected to compete at the WEGs, he faced a staggering fundraising effort, needing thousands to get to Kentucky. He said: "It was crazy when I first saw the figure, I was thinking how the hell am I meant to raise that, but everyone in the local community and around, their support has been phenomenal. I can't thank them enough for getting behind me.

"I want to thank all the ladies that lunched, and everybody that turned out to my fundraising events; the truck pull, race night and dance. A big thank you to Shug Renton, Bill O'Brien, Neil Redpath and helpers for the truck pull and a massive thank you to the Duns Rotary Club who manned the race night.

"Thanks also to everyone who sponsored me and donated money to help me get there, and to all the local businesses who sponsored me and sponsored prizes for my raffle - Cool Cuts, The Way Ahead, The White Swan, Redpath Tyres, Steven Lackenby General Builders, Brian Bolton painter and decorator, Pearsons of Duns, T Fleming Homes of Duns, Albany Vineyard, Total Beauty, Zing, Thorburns, Border Farm Supplies, Ross Pool at the Lawnmower centre, Aitken Walker Cars, Fish and Fine Foods, Jeanie bags by Lucy Robertson, Morag Pool, The Wind Farm and the Berwickshire Sports Council.

"Thanks to my family for all their support, and the biggest thank you has to go to the Lauderdale Vaulting Club, all the vaulters, parents and helpers, Equibuddy, Jenny Leggate, Phillip Hewit for the driving, and most importantly Rebecca Morgan and Softy.