Essex's Ben Maher takes Tokyo 2020 gold
- Credit: PA
Essex's Ben Maher has claimed his second Olympic gold medal.
The 38-year-old athlete from Elsenham fought for the top spot in a six-horse jump-off after no winner emerged in the Tokyo 2020 individual jumping final earlier today (August 4).
He beat silver medallist Peder Fredricson, from Sweden, in the jump-off by just 0.17s.
Maher, who is getting married in two weeks' time to his fiancée Sophie Gracida, said his winning 37.85 second time "doesn't seem real".
He said: "I don’t know what was more pressure - this, or getting married in two weeks."
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Maher and his horse Explosion W have performed well together in recent years, winning a silver in the individual jumping together at the 2019 European Equestrian Show Jumping Championships.
Ben's medal is Team GB's fifth equestrian medal in Tokyo.
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He already has an Olympic gold medal to his name after the London 2012 team jumping final.
Maher said: "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.
"I tried to learn from them and I have so many people to thank. Explosion W is the main one.
"There are also the vets that have been with me for 10 or 15 years back home.
"Cormac Kenny, Explosion W's 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 and my fiancée."
He added: "It doesn’t seem real.
"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.
"There are so many people who have contributed to make this possible and hopefully we will get home and have a big celebration."