TRYON, North Carolina (Reuters) - Germany’s Simone Blum on DSP Alice produced a pressure packed clean final round to become the first woman to snatch the individual show jumping gold medal at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) on Sunday.
The clean ride capped a perfect competition for Blum and DSP Alice who did not knock a barrier down through five rounds, thus returning Germany to the top of the podium in the event for the first time since 1982.
Although Blum became the first woman to win at the WEG, Canada’s Gail Greenough took gold when the world championships were held separately in 1986.
“I am so grateful to be here I cannot describe my feelings, the first world champion as a woman, for me woman or man it is the same, but this is perfect,” said Blum.
“Alice jumped the whole week really great, she had no fault in the five rounds, I think that is really unbelievable.
“She is so careful, she is always fighting, she has the biggest heart and think this week she knew that she can win the hearts of this world.
“I think she really wanted this win today because she was jumping her heart out for me.”
The last rider into the ring, Blum had little room for error with the Swiss duo of Martin Fuchs and 2012 Olympic champion Steve Guerdat occupying the top two spots.
But as they had done all week, Blum and Alice delivered another cool, controlled performance that brought a roaring ovation from the crowd, which included International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, at the Tryon International Equestrian Center.
While the Swiss were denied gold, they still made history with the silver and bronze as it was the first medals won by the nation in individual show jumping at a world championships.
The two medals also eased some of the sting of just missing out on the bronze in the team jumping, when they finished fourth behind Germany.
“Two Swiss riders is special but with a rider who is like my brother is even more special,” said Guerdat. “We friends, we are neighbors, we talk every day. They (the Fuchs) are like my second family, I am like their third son so it really makes it as special as it gets.”
Editing by Pritha Sarkar