Tokyo 2020: Elsenham's Ben Maher looking to add to Olympic showjumping medal tally on Explosion W
Showjumper Ben Maher MBE headed to Tokyo this week with high hopes of clinching his second Olympic gold medal.
The Elsenham-based 38-year-old, who won Great Britain's first team showjumping gold in 60 years at London 2012, will represent Team GB on his horse Explosion W.
Known as one of the most consistent horses on the five-star circuit, Explosion W has amassed around £2m in prize money and is dubbed by Ben as "the horse who can do anything".
After months of preparations, with the former Saffron Walden County High School pupil regularly updating his social media followers on Explosion W's training progress at Elsenham Stud, the Team GB horses completed their seven-day spell in quarantine at the British National Showjumping Training Centre in Leicester before being transported by horsebox to Liege in Belgium on Sunday (July 25) and flying out to Tokyo on Monday (July 26).
They are the last of the horses to arrive in the Far East, with showjumping the finale for equestrian sports following the dressage and eventing competitions.
The showjumping schedule kicks off on Tuesday (Aug 3) with the individual qualifying rounds. The team qualifier follows on Friday (Aug 6). Maher will compete with team-mates Scott Brash – a fellow London 2012 gold medalist – Harry Charles and Holly Smith.
He is fresh from success at the Royal Windsor Horse Show earlier in July when he took the Rolex Grand Prix top spot on 12-year-old Explosion W and the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix title.
Paying tribute to his exceptional mount, Maher said: "I've had many good horses and you always feel that each one is the best for different reasons, but I think he's probably the horse of a lifetime."
This will be Maher's fourth appearance at the Olympics. As well as his medal-winning outing at London 2012, he competed in Beijing in 2008 and Rio five years ago.
His other big achievements include team gold and individual silver at the 2013 European Championships and individual silver and team bronze at the 2019 Europeans with Explosion W.