Equestrianism: Natasha Baker cooks up a storm but Lee Pearson fails

 

Double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin led the tributes to Natasha Baker after she won a second Paralympic Games gold medal at Greenwich Park yesterday. Baker followed up her individual championship gold by landing the Grade II freestyle crown with a Paralympic record score of 82.800 per cent. It was the British para-equestrian team's seventh medal of the Games, which leaves them needing three more from four remaining events to equal their record haul at Beijing in 2008.

However, Lee Pearson failed in his attempt to win an 11th Paralympics gold medal. The 38-year-old from Staffordshire was beaten into third place by Grade Ib freestyle winner, Austrian Pepo Puch, while Finland's Katja Karjalainen won silver. Pearson had never been beaten in three successive Paralympics before London, but his score of 74.200 aboard Gentleman was not enough. He picked up a 10th gold in the team competition, but his quest to join former wheelchair athlete Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and swimmer David Roberts on 11 golds will have to wait until Rio 2016.

Dujardin, who is poised to become the new world dressage No 1, claimed Olympic freestyle and team gold in the same Greenwich arena less than a month ago, and she has lavished praise on 22-year-old Baker's achievement.

"What an amazing result. I hope she enjoys every minute of it," Dujardin said. "She is such a fantastic rider, and I admire her for what she can do. She certainly doesn't let her disability stand in her way. It is brilliant. My tummy felt like it did when I won. I am so excited for her."

Baker and Cabral faced tough competition in the 20-rider class, including former Paralympic gold medal winner Lauren Barwick and the twin German threat posed by Britta Napel (Aquilina 3) and Angelika Trabert (Ariva-Avanti). But whereas the individual championship medallists – today's same trio in the same order – had been separated by less than 1 per cent, Baker put daylight between her rivals this time. Napel finished second on 77.400 per cent and Trabert third on 76.150, while Eilish Byrne took a superb fourth spot aboard Youri a day after Ireland won team bronze and Grade Ia individual silver.

Baker, who has decided that her gold postbox as a Paralympic champion will be situated on the high street in her home town of Uxbridge, hailed Dujardin's influence. "Charlotte is fantastic," she said. "We are really good friends. She competed in her first Europeans last year, as I did, and we both won gold, and now we've done it in our first Games this year. She is such a lovely, bubbly girl, and we get on really well. It was great to hear about her experience in the Olympic Games."

Reflecting on her own golden double, Baker added: "It feels amazing. I never imagined that at my first Games in London I would go home with two gold medals. It's incredible. I don't know what to say, to be honest, and that doesn't happen a lot."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea