Maher gold gives Team GB back-to-back Olympic individual jumping titles

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Photo credit: Team GB

Ben Maher followed in the footsteps of Nick Skelton by taking individual show jumping gold in a dramatic six-rider jump-off at Tokyo 2020.

Maher and horse Explosion W went round in 37.85 seconds to take the title ahead of Sweden’s Peder Fredricson by just 0.17s.

His gold is Team GB’s fifth equestrian medal in Tokyo, equalling their best-ever haul from London 2012 – where Maher became an Olympic champion for the first time.

On that occasion, he revelled in team success alongside Skelton, fellow Tokyo competitor Scott Brash, and Peter Charles – the father of another member of the class of 2020, Harry Charles.

Now he has individual victory to go alongside his team efforts, with Team GB becoming the second nation to win back-to-back individual show jumping titles, matching Germany in 1992 and 1996.

Maher, 38, from Elsenham, Essex, said:

“It doesn’t seem real. I think it will sink in tonight or tomorrow morning, let’s just say there has been a lot of pressure in the last couple of weeks. 

“I am biased but I believe I am on the best horse, he is an incredible horse.

“To ride him for Pamela Wright and Charlotte Rossetter is amazing, they kept him for me for this and with that comes pressure, people expect and some comments here or there that I don’t pick up on sit in the back of my mind and it finally happened.

“I am relieved it is done and I am very happy right now.

“I am not from a show jumping family or background so I have always looked up to other riders since I was a small boy, 10 or 11, watching at home on TV watching Olympia or Hickstead.

“I tried to learn from them and I have so many people to thank, Explosion W is the main one.

“I have vets that have been with me for 10 or 15 years back home, Cormac Kenny his groom. He came with me from Ireland when he was 16 and grew up with me and he has been a huge part of this moment.

“My family, my fiancée [Sophie], we are getting married in two weeks’ time.

“I don’t know what was more pressure, this or getting married in two weeks but there are so many people who have contributed to make this possible and hopefully we will get home and have a big celebration.” 

Credit: Team GB

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