Tokyo Olympics: Ben Maher wins gold for Team GB in individual showjumping

Team GB’s Ben Maher has won gold in the individual showjumping.

The 38-year-old from Enfield had a tough battle for the Olympic medal, facing five other riders in a jump-off following a close final round.

Maher put on an impressive performance to triumph over silver medallist Peder Fredricson, of Sweden, by 17 hundredths of a second. Holland’s Maikel van der Vleuten won bronze.

He 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.

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

Maher, who marries his American fiancee Sophie in a fortnight’s time, added: “I don’t know what was more pressure, this, or getting married in two weeks.

“I called them (family) just now, but I couldn’t really hear them.

“There was a lot of screaming and crying, and in the end it was a pointless conversation, so hopefully I will get back to her later.”

Maher is Great Britain’s second successive Olympic showjumping champion following Nick Skelton’s success with Big Star in Rio five years ago.

He adds this gold to the team gold he won at London 2012 alongside Skelton, Scott Brash and Peter Charles.

It is Great Britain’s fifth equestrian medal in Tokyo, equalling the record haul achieved in London.

Maher’s win followed gold for the eventing team and Tom McEwen’s individual eventing silver, plus team dressage bronze and Charlotte Dujardin’s individual dressage bronze.

Fellow Britons Harry Charles and Scott Brash failed to win a medal in the individual event.

There was disappointment for Brash on Hello Jefferson following an immaculate jumping round, but one time penalty saw him miss out on the jump-off, ending his medal chances.

Charles, meanwhile, had four fences down on Romeo 88 and retired just before the end of his round.

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