Sport

Vaulting ambitions of 'Shaolin monk'

Updated 1542 GMT (2342 HKT) January 28, 2016
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Reigning European vaulting champion Jannis Drewell started the sport when he was eight years old. Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images/file
His striking costume is based on the look of Shaolin monks. "It was one of my coaches' idea," Drewell told CNN. "They told me about them and I liked their moves and I liked the costume ... I (have performed as) this Shaolin monk for two years now." Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images/file
Drewell saw a martial arts theatrical performance by Shaolin monks at Halle, Germany in 2013. Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images/file
Shaolin monks pose for a photo in London's Chinatown. Drewell attempts to emulate their athleticism in his routine but admits it's hard. "I try to do a kind of high kick while they are fighting," he says. "I tried to do it on the horse but my feet don't go so high -- but I try!"
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Drewell on his horse Diabolus at the 2015 FEI European Equestrian Championship in Aachen, Germany. Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images/file
"The most important (part of vaulting) is to be together with your horse and work together, but self-confidence is important too," he says.
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Drewell and his mother Simone on the podium in Aachen at the 2015 FEI European Equestrian Championship. "My mother is my trainer, my coach and my lunger (the person who holds the reins and keeps the horse cantering in a circle)." She is really important for me because she does the work together with the horses. I don't know what it's like to have a trainer who's not your mother ... so yeah, that's really great!"
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"The highlight of my career was (winning the European Championships in) Aachen. There will be no other competition that will be more important for me than Aachen. It was my dream when I was a child to compete in Aachen and now I've won in Aachen."
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Thomas Bruesewitz, who was second in the final, performs on his horse Airbus in Aachen last August. Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images
The German took second place behind his brother Viktor in the male vaulting freestyle test at the 2015 FEI European Equestrian Championship. Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images
Lisa Wild performs on her horse Robin. The Austrian was third in the women's vaulting final at the 2015 FEI European Equestrian Championship. Germany's Corinna Knauf was champion. Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images
Germany's RSV Neuss-Grimlinghausen won the squads vaulting final freestyle test at Aachen. Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images
France's Nicolas Andreani (on his horse Juste a Kiss HN) competes during the 2012 FEI World Vaulting Championship at the European Horse Pole in Yvre-L'Eveque, northern France. Jean-Francois Monier/AFP/Getty Images