Golds for Pearson and Criddle

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The Independent Online

Lee Pearson and Debbie Criddle won their second equestrian gold medals of the week at the Paralympic Games in Athens.

Lee Pearson and Debbie Criddle won their second equestrian gold medals of the week at the Paralympic Games in Athens with outstanding performances in yesterday's individual dressage freestyle. Pearson scored an astonishing 87.000 per cent on his attractive dun gelding Blue Circle Boy to win by the remarkable margin of almost 11 per cent.

"I used the horse's power to the maximum today, but it could have gone either way," Pearson said. "The judges could have felt that it was too spectacular, but they just sat back and enjoyed it."

Criddle, with a score of 81.722 per cent, was also the only rider in her grade to get into the eighties. Her win on Tuesday means that she now holds concurrent titles as Paralympic, World and European champion - all of which were achieved with Nina Venables' 13-year-old bay gelding, Figaro IX.

Sophie Christiansen, the 16-year-old schoolgirl who won a Grade I bronze medal for Britain on Tuesday, missed out yesterday when she finished a close fourth, just ahead of regular team member Anne Dunham.

Dunham is one of the four Britons nominated for Sunday's team test. The others are Pearson, Criddle and Nicola Tustain, who won a Grade III bronze on Wednesday and is due to ride her freestyle test today. Britain won team golds in the 1996 and 2000 Games and, with scores being carried forward from the first competition in Athens, hopes are already high for a third consecutive victory.

The swimmer David Roberts achieved his third gold yesterday. Roberts, already a winner in the S7 100m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle relay, left his rivals trailing in the S7 400m freestyle, winning in 4min 56.11sec. The Welshman, who has cerebral palsy, was five seconds clear of Rong Tian, of China, and his win marked a comeback from life-threatening surgery.

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