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Enfield's Ben Maher tells of his joy at securing a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games
Ben Maher was still struggling to believe he is an Olympic champion this morning having secured a gold medal as part of Team GB’s equestrian jumping team yesterday.
Maher is currently enjoying his second Olympic experience having competed at Beijing and made it a successful one as he joined Scott Brash, Peter Charles and Nick Skelton in climbing to the top of the podium in dramatic circumstances.
The British quartet were level with the Netherlands after the second round of jumps, meaning the gold medal would be decided by a sudden death style ‘jump-off’.
With all four riders from each nation taking to the course again, Maher, Skelton and Charles all enjoyed clear round to ensure the host nation would pick up the top prize, their first in the event since the Helsinki Games of 1952.
And speaking today, Enfield-born Maher was still blown away by what he had achieved.
“It seems strange that you are talking to me to be honest. I don’t really believe it still just yet. I have dreamt of this for a long time," he explained.
“Obviously I am not that old. There are two much more experienced and older guys on our team that have had to wait a much longer time than I have. But it is unbelievable to do it.
“We have got a long future ahead of us somebody said earlier, but it is never going to happen again in London and it was important to try and get this one right, bring our sport back to where it should be.
“It is a popular sport and it proved it can have a thrilling and exciting end for young and old people yesterday. Hopefully we have done it proud.”
Maher moved to praise his horse Triple X III who he said “rose to the occasion” of competing in a tense Olympic finale.
The Games are not over yet though for the 29-year-old as he looks to make it a double celebration in the individual event tomorrow.
And he’s hopeful the extra exertions of the jump-off won’t have affected his chances.
He continued: “For those eight horses in that jump off, they have had to do an extra round compared to the other horses back in the stable yesterday.
“They might be slightly more tired today but I am going to go down and see my horse in a minute. He feels good and it is anyone’s day tomorrow. We start on zero scores.”
And as for competing against his fellow gold medal winners: “We still work as a team at the end of the day.
“We are there and we do our own thing but we support each other. Nick’s in great form, my horse is in great form – I made a small mistake myself yesterday, but I am quietly confident.”