Life & Leisure

Maher turns on the magic to win Individual Jumping gold

Tokyo, Aug 4 (EFE).- Five years after Nick Shelton was proclaimed Olympic champion in Rio de Janeiro 2016, Ben Maher riding Explosion W on Wednesday protected the British gold with a victory in the Individual Jumping final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Baji Koen Equestrian Park.

Just six of the 30 starters during the medal-decider jumped clear to qualify for the second-round jump-off against the clock and, third to go, Sweden’s Peder Fredricson set the target when clear again with All In in 38.02 seconds.

But Maher followed with a sensational run from the aptly-named Explosion W to break the beam in 37.85 seconds for a score that couldn’t be beat.

Fredricson and his 16-year-old gelding took their second Olympic silver medal in a row and bronze went to the last man into the ring, The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten with Beauville Z.

The Briton entered the jump-off with the other two riders on the podium as well as Sweden’s  Henrik von Eckermann and Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Japan’s Daisuke Fukushima, who finished their first round without a penalty on the demanding track designed by Spaniard  Santiago Varela Ullastres.

The world numbers one and two, Germany’s Daniel Deusser and the Swiss Martin Fuchs, both fell short with eight penalty points.

Van der Vleuten was the fastest with a time of 85.31, ahead of Von Eckermann (85.48) and Maher (85.67), who in the tiebreaker set the best time with 37.85 against Fredricson’s 38.02 and 38.90 for Van der Vleuten in a tremendously exciting round.

Born in Enfield on January 30, 1983, Maher’s victory was his second Olympic gold after the one he won in team competition in the English capital in 2012.

In Beijing he was 19th in individual competition, in London he was ninth and in Rio 25th.

His triumph marks the fifth medal for the British equestrian team in Tokyo, equaling the London record.

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