Sophie Wells Scoops Silver in Grade V Para Dressage at Tokyo
Sophie Wells scoops silver in the Grade V para dressage at Tokyo.
Adding a third Para dressage medal to British equestrian team’s growing collection, Sophie took 2nd place during the first day of equestrian Paralympic competition.
Sophie scored 74.4%, claiming her podium place between her long-time grade V rivals. Belgium’s Michele George, riding Best Of 8, took gold. Meanwhile, the Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar aboard Alphaville snatched bronze.
Sophie was riding the up-and-coming Don Cara M. Taking on his first championship, like the rest of the British horses at the Tokyo Paralympics, the championship stage came quicker than expected for the gelding. Don Cara M was a late substitution into the team, replacing Sophie’s top horse and multi-medallist C Fatal Attraction due to a fitness issue..
Sophie was the reigning individual Paralympic champion, having taken gold in Rio in 2016. However, arriving in Tokyo with the somewhat inexperience Don Cara M, the pressure to defend her title seemed slightly lifted, Sophie commenting;
I’m so overwhelmed with emotion because, I came into this having absolutely no expectations,”
“I had a little bit of fear of what he could do in there, for the bad, but also belief that if he relaxed and he was with me, he could win a medal.”
“In London and Rio I was looking at the gold and nothing else would come close, but this time I didn’t feel as much pressure. There was expectation on me, but of course half the partnership is the horse,” added Sophie, pointing out that Don Cara had not even competed abroad until now.”
“For Don Cara to be here with me and perform like he did, and I know that’s just the start – I’m so proud of him. He is a sensitive and anxious character, and my hope for him is that he becomes more confident and believes in himself. I just want him to believe that he deserves to be here. That he trusted me in that arena is huge.”
Gold medallist, Michele set an early standard with whopping score of 76.54%. Meanwhile, Bronze-placed Frank suffered a few mistakes with tension from 16-year-old, experienced ride, Alphaville.
Sophie’s medal makes it full house for medals on day one of Paralympic equestrian competition. Earlier, Lee Pearson won gold and Georgia Wilson bronze in the grade II individual championship.
Header Image; Sophie Wells riding Don Cara M at Tokyo Paralympics (British Equestrian/Jon Stroud)
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