Natasha Baker crowned an unforgettable debut Paralympics today when she won her second individual gold medal – this time winning the Grade II Freestyle.
The score to beat came from Britta Napel (GER), who went into the arena at Greenwich just before Natasha. Her test on Aquilina 3 scored 77.4%, putting pressure on the young British rider.
But Natasha was utterly unfazed and produced an assured, rhythmical and polished test on the 11-year-old Cabral.
The judges were obviously impressed, awarding her a huge score of 82.8% - a clear 5% lead.
Last to go Angelika Trabert (GER) – who has no legs below her upper thighs – slotted into bronze medal position with a superb test on Ariva-Avanti, leaving Britta in silver and Natasha in gold.
“I never imagined I’d go to my first Games and come home with two golds,” said Natasha, 22. “Cabral was a star today – he was really listening, and he was the best he’s been.”
Her score sent a new Grade II Freestyle Paralympic record, and it surpassed Natasha’s hopes.
“I got 81% at Hartpury and today’ test felt as good as that, if not a bit better. I knew it was good, but I didn’t think it would be a Paralympic record.”
Natasha isn’t part of the Team competition, but she finishes at Greenwich with an immaculate record of two golds from two competitions. But she’ll be taking away more than just two medals.
“I’ve developed as a rider, and as a person – I feel ancient now!” she said. “But I’ve learned so much about JP as well, as I had no idea how he’d cope wih a crowd of that size. It’s been amazing. I don’t know what to say – and that doesn’t happen a lot.”
Fellow Brit Lee Pearson will compete this afternoon in the Grade 1b Freestyle .