Johnson grabs second gold at Paralympics

Philippa Johnson won her second gold medal and South Africa’s seventh when she took top honours in the individual freestyle test equestrian event at the Paralympic Games on Wednesday.

Her freestyle routine at the Hong Kong equestrian arena wowed the judges, and she ended up taking gold with a sparkling performance on Benedict. She scored 77,272 points to win comfortably from Ann Lubbe of Norway and Georgia Bruce of Australia.

”What an incredible horse,” she said afterwards. ”I just love Benedict. He dug deep and pulled out all the stops for me.”

She won two silvers in the last Paralympics, and was understandably delighted at the improvement. She has been working with her coach, Chris Haazen from The Netherlands, towards the performance, and, although she lives in Belgium, she was acutely aware of support from South Africa.

”I want to thank everyone at home. It’s made history for South Africa and South Africans can now hold their own in the equestrian Paralympics,” she said.

Her medal took South Africa’s haul to seven golds, a silver and three bronzes at the end of the fourth day of the Beijing Paralympics, which places the country eighth on the table. — Sapa

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