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Sir Lee Pearson secures 12th career Paralympic gold medal in Tokyo

Sir Lee Pearson secures 12th career Paralympic gold medal in Tokyo
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Great Britain's flagbearer from Rio 2016 triumphed in Japan with a score of 76.265.

Sir Lee Pearson claimed the 12th Paralympic gold medal of his distinguished career by winning the grade two individual dressage on homebred horse Breezer.

Great Britain’s flagbearer from Rio 2016 triumphed in Tokyo with a score of 76.265.

The victory moved him into third place on GB’s list of all-time Paralympic gold medallists, ahead of swimmer David Roberts and wheelchair racer Tanni Grey-Thompson and behind only Mike Kenny and Dame Sarah Storey.

Sir Lee Pearson's medal tally
(PA Graphics)

Compatriot Georgia Wilson – a late replacement for the decorated Sophie Christiansen – took bronze on her Games debut, riding Sakura and scoring 72.765, while Sophie Wells later made it a full complement of medals for ParalympicsGB with a silver in grade five.

Two-time gold medallist Wells scored 74.405 on Don Cara M, finishing behind Belgium’s Michele George.

Pearson had to settle for silver in the individual dressage in Brazil five years ago after being beaten by Pepo Puch of Austria.

The two again battled it out but this time the roles were reversed as Puch’s score of 73.441 on Sailor’s Blue was only good enough for second spot.

Staffordshire-born Pearson, who has arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, which means he cannot move his ankles or knees, now has a total of 15 Paralympic medals from six successive Games.

He was present on the day nine-year-old gelding Breezer was born, describing him as a “sensitive gentleman”.

The 47-year-old’s paternal instinct is also no longer limited to horses. Last year he took on the responsibility of becoming a single parent to a 15-year-old foster son.

Pearson predicted further Games glory would bring out his emotional side and duly delivered on that prophecy, while revealing the alcohol-inspired origin of his mount’s name.

“I am very very emotional, I cried in the arena,” he said.

“It has been a long journey, he is a homebred horse and I am a dad now – I have never had to keep anyone else alive apart from myself!

“I have lots of emotions, my family aren’t out here to be with me and to do it on a homebred horse is amazing.

“His name is Breezer because his dad was Bacardi, so Bacardi Breezer – that’s me back to the alcohol again.

“To say he has been with me since he was hours old in Staffordshire does make this extra special, but also because he’s not a dope-on-a-rope.”

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