Sligo’s Paddy Reape rounded off what has been an exceptional week for Irish athletes in Le Mans, France at the FEI Pony European Championships with a stunning individual gold medal win in the individual show jumping final.
Reape was faultless throughout the competition on Fernando and held his nerve to jump clear throughout the final day of action to take top spot on the podium.
On another huge day for Irish athletes, Limerick’s Kian Dore finished third on Sparkling Lackamore Joey to secure a bronze medal – cementing Ireland’s position as number one in Europe for pony combinations.
Following their team gold medal-winning performance on Friday, the Irish riders lined out for the individual final this afternoon.
Kilkenny’s Abbie Oakey added four faults to her total for the week, leaving her on a total of 16, in 14th place. A fence down in the first round of the final left fellow Kilkenny native Emily Moloney on eight faults. She finished in a share of fifth place, alongside Westmeath’s James Derwin and Rincoola Babog (ISH).
Derwin was unlucky to end his streak of clear rounds throughout the championships, picking up eight faults in his opening round in the final. He followed up with strong second round. jumping clear to stay on eight faults, level with Moloney.
Dore also jumped clear with Sparkling Lackaghmore Joey, leaving them on a score of four faults and in fourth place individually.
Reape was the only Irish rider to maintain his faultless record, riding Fernado, and he added yet another clear to his record in the second round of the final to secure gold.
Dore needed to jump off for the podium places but once again he was calm under pressure and came home in third place, adding to his team gold earlier in the competition. Sweden’s Ellen Hammarstrom was second with Ocean Des As.
Speaking about the achievement Reape said: “I'm delighted to win today. The courses were very technical and big. It suited my pony Fernando, he’s got a big jump and he's scopey so I was happy. My goal is for the rest of the year is hopefully go to the Nations Cup final and do well there and I'd also like to come back and do the same next year and the Juniors.”