Win­ning Rio golds hasn't sunk in yet for rider Natasha

Dres­sage rider bet­ters her medal haul from Lon­don Games

Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.