Fraser's 'ride of life' claims gold
Feilding's Emily Fraser rode horse Exilio to victory in the showjumping at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, yesterday, capping two clear rounds with a 39.75 second round in the jump off.
Fraser defeated silver medallist Martina Campi from Argentina and bronze medallist Jake Hunter from Australia to take the victory after two rounds of jumping and then the final jump-off to determine the top three placings.
The 18-year-old described her first round of the day as "the best ride of my life" but was joined by three other riders who had double clears from Saturday's competition and the first round yesterday.
The four horses and riders needed to jump again to determine the top three, knowing that one would come away without a medal.
Fraser was up first of the four riders in the jump-off and had the decision to ride for time or a no-fault round.
"I had a strategy to go clear and post an all right time, but as long as I left the rails up," said Fraser. She succeeded in this goal and even posted the eventual fastest time.
Trainer Sally Clark said that Fraser had a tough draw, being the first double clear in the opening two rounds and then being the first in the jump-off.
"Going first like that is quite tough, but then in this situation it worked in her favour," said Clark.
"She put the others under pressure."
Fraser said the nerve-racking jump off was a case of "riding for my life."
She exited the arena and watched each of the other three riders jump the course, with two knocking over a rail and the other posting a clear round but with a slower time.
"I just hugged my horse, I was so excited and I burst into tears," said Fraser, describing the moment when she knew the gold was hers.
Fraser's father, Donald, who was watching from the stands with family and friends, described the moment as "incredible" and said he was "immensely proud" of his daughter.
"To come out first under that pressure, jump clear, to put a good time down and to put the challenge on everybody else is unbelievable," he said.
A teary-eyed Fraser came away from her victory lap and into the arms of her coach. "I am over the moon excited, I'm the happiest person alive," she said.