Double gold for equestrian stars

02 September 2012 / 19:21

A brilliant day for the Great Britain equestrian team ended with Sophie Christiansen winning gold in Grade Ia - and confirmation of the team gold.

Drawn first to go, Berkshire-based rider Christiansen set an imperious standard on Janeiro 6, scoring 82.750%.

Her latest triumph followed double gold in the Beijing Paralympic Games four years ago, a feat she has now emulated following the team success for Deb Criddle, Sophie Wells, Lee Pearson and Christiansen that was officially ratified following the conclusion of Sunday's action.

"As long as I stayed relaxed and focused on what I had done in training, I knew I could pull out an 80%-plus test," said 24-year-old Christiansen, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

"It was always going to be tough going first in the competition, but I did my best. I've worked so hard this year."

Sophie Wells started Britain medal rush in the morning, claiming silver behind Belgium's Michele George, a Grade IV result that was reversed from the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.

Wells, who was born with amniotic band syndrome that affects her joints, is such an outstanding dressage talent that she has also competed at non-disabled international level. But a mistake midway through her test here on Pinnochio cost her dear as their score of 76.323% fell short of George's 77.065% aboard Rainman.

Wells, whose test came immediately after George's, struggled to conceal her disappointment at not securing a Paralympic individual gold, although she will be a leading contender in Tuesday's freestyle to music class.

There was more British medal success in the Grade III class, where 46-year-old Criddle won silver with LJT Akilles.

Although Criddle's test contained some mistakes, a score of 71.267% set the standard and was not overhauled until penultimate rider and defending Paralympic champion Hannelore Brenner posted 74.133% with Women of the World.