Saturday, 01 January 2022
Our Tokyo Olympic eventing gold medal winning team of Laura Collett, Tom McEwen and Oliver Townend have all been recognised with MBEs in the New Years Honours List while Natasha Baker and Sophie Wells are now OBEs for their Tokyo successes.
The eventing trio took gold with for the first time since 1972 with a record-breaking low score and, despite all riders and horses being Olympic debutantes, dominated in Tokyo. Oliver Townend expertly took on the path finder roll with Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop and Val Ryan’s Ballaghmor Class, finishing fifth individually. Laura Collett riding London 52 for owners Karen Bartlett, Keith Scott and herself were ninth in the standings while Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser, owned by Fred and Penny Barker, Jane Inns and Ali McEwen, were faultless in the two show jumping rounds to clinch the team gold and individual silver for themselves.
Following on from medals in London and Rio, para-dressage riders Sophie Wells and Natasha Baker have been awarded with OBEs following their against-the-odds Tokyo team gold performances and individual medals. Riding in the team with Sir Lee Pearson for a third consecutive Games, both Sophie and Natasha took relatively unproven horses to Tokyo but both rode with great skill to deliver tests worthy of victory and keeping the team title in British colours at every Games since Atlanta in 1996.
Natasha Baker travelled to Tokyo unbeaten in Paralympic competition, but this year was a different proposal with new, inexperienced ride Keystone Dawn Chorus, owned by Joanna Jensen, Christian Landolt and Phil Baker. The duo really rose to the occasion and with a +76% score helped secure gold for the team as well as a pair of silver medals in the Grade III individual and freestyle tests.
Riding Roland and Maria Kinch’s Don Cara M, Sophie put everything into supporting the team in her Grade V team test and kept the nervy gelding as calm to deliver a personal best and gold for Britain. The duo also took silver in the individual test and finished just off the podium in the freestyle.
Jabeena Maslin, who coaches the equestrian discipline for the Modern Pentathlon, has been awarded an MBE following the successes in Tokyo.
British Equestrian Chief Executive Jim Eyre commented; “We’re exceptionally proud of our athletes and their performances this summer which exceeded all expectations against the most trying of circumstances. To be honoured in this way is further tribute to their achievements as well as being ambassadors for equestrian sport and inspiring others. Behind all our athletes is a team of people who enable them to perform so, while they are well deserved individual honours, congratulations must also go to those behind them who are vital to their success.”