Debutant Baker achieves gold ambition in dressage

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The Independent Online

In her Paralympic Games debut, Great Britain's Natasha Baker won gold yesterday in the Grade II individual dressage event at Greenwich Park, with a Paralympic Grade II record score of 76.857 per cent riding on her horse Cabral.

"From the age of 10 when I watched the Sydney Paralympics on television I said I would come to a Paralympic Games and win a gold medal," said the 22-year-old, who has transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder which affects the spinal cord. "But to come to my first Games and win gold, I never expected that in a million years."

Baker, from Uxbridge, was quick to praise the efforts of Cabral. "We kind of stepped it up a gear today – he just felt amazing." The defending champion, Germany's Britta Napel, finished second.

It wasn't Paralympic gold No 10 for Lee Pearson in the individual Grade 1b dressage test. The 38-year-old had to settle for his first ever Paralympic silver medal, behind Australia's Joann Formosa, who won with a score of 75.826 per cent. The Austrian Pepo Puch, considered Pearson's main rival in the event before the start, could only finish third.

Pearson has a another chance to add to his nine Paralympic golds in the team event today.