EQUESTRIAN gold medal fancy Edwina Tops-Alexander says she’s thriving under extra pressure created by Australia’s barren London Olympics.
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But the world’s top-ranked female show jumper is trying to ignore her nation’s lament at producing just one gold medal.
Tops-Alexander and compatriot Julia Hargreaves produced perfect displays in show jumping’s opening qualification round, among 32 riders to attract no penalty points.
Fellow Australian James Paterson-Robinson incurred four penalty points to advance into the second round ranked equal 41st of the 75 riders.
But Matt Williams was instantly eliminated when his horse Watch Me refused two jumps.
“My horse didn’t want to know … everything got too much for him,” Williams said.
Tops-Alexander, who last year won show jumping’s world tour and more than $1.17 million in prizemoney, had no such problems in advancing into Sunday’s second qualifying round.
The Sydney-born rider was paying scant attention to Australia’s malaise at winning just the one lonely gold medal so far in London.
But the lack of success heightened expectations on the 38-year-old to win gold.
“I like pressure, it’s good for me,” she said.
“I haven’t really been paying a lot of attention to what is going, I have really been trying to stay focused on my own game.
“I want to win as much as everybody else wants me to.”
Hargreaves overcame nerves when entering the Greenwich Park arena holding 23,000 spectators.
“When I saw the crowd I thought ‘oh my God’,” Hargreaves said.
Williams remains part of Australia’s show jumping team in a competition which counts the top three scores from each nation and is held concurrently with the individual event.
Australia were ranked 10th in the team event, where medals will be awarded after Monday’s third qualification round.
Individual jumping medals will be decided Wednesday.