Winning Rio golds hasn't sunk in yet for rider Natasha
Dressage rider betters her medal haul from London Games
UXBRIDGE’S paralympic superhero Natasha Baker wowed her home fans when she won two gold medals in London in 2012, but who would have expected her to better the phenomenal achievement four years later?
The 26-year-old dressage rider returned home from Rio on September 20 clutching the three gold medals she scooped this time around.
Natasha was a key player in Team GB’s record-breaking success in Brazil and said she had always dreamed of following up her London 2012 success in Rio.
The former Bishop Ramsey student told the Gazette: “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I don’t think it will ever sink in.
“It took two and a half years for the London medals to sink in. It was an amazing feeling. I’ve never been so emotional in my life.”
Competing in 2012, Natasha took home golds in both the grade two individual and grade two freestyle events with her beloved horse JP.
Four years on, the pair took home golds in the individual freestyle, individual championship and the team championship, placing her 22nd in the table of gold medal winners this year.
Natasha has transverse myelitis, a condition that left her with permanent nerve damage and severe weakness in her legs, after she contracted a virus at just 14 months old.
Unable to use her legs while riding, she instructs
JP through verbal commands and by moving in her seat.
Sadly this will be the last time the duo compete together as Natasha has opted to retire JP from competition, but is delighted he could go out on a high.
She said: “He was so good. I had a little pep talk with him before.
“I love him to pieces. He’s my best friend. I wanted to win it for him more than for me.”
Talking about what could be painted gold to mark her mounting success, as post boxes were in 2012, Natasha said: “I would think phone boxes. They’re quite British, although I don’t know if there’s any left.
“I would turn everything gold if I could.”
I’ve never been so emotional in my life”
Pictures: Getty Images
‘AMAZING FEELING’: Natasha Baker with her Rio gold medals