Team GB’s Ben Maher says that he believes he is on “the best horse” after jumping to a dramatic second Olympic gold of his career on Wednesday.
Maher was the favourite for individual show-jumping gold in Tokyo, and delivered a quality performance atop Explosion W in a six-way jump-off for gold.
He says that the enormity of his achievement has yet to sink in.
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"It doesn’t seem real,” Maher said. “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.
"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.
"I am relieved it is done and I am very happy right now.”
The 38-year-old won team jumping gold at the 2012 Olympics in London, but, unlike many of his team-mates and competitors in the sport, does not come from a show-jumping background.
And the Londoner says that his route to individual gold has been built on the efforts of far more people than just him.
"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 Olympia or Hickstead [equestrian events] at home on TV,” he said.
"I tried to learn from them and I have so many people to thank, Explosion W is the main one.
Ben Maher shows off his gold medal
Image credit: Getty Images
"I have vets that have been with me for 10 or 15 years back home, Cormac Kenny his 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, my fiancée [Sophie], we are getting married in two weeks' time.
I don’t know what was more pressure, this or getting married in two weeks.
"But there are so many people who have contributed to make this possible and hopefully we will get home and have a big celebration."
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