Puch celebrates Paralympics silver:


Dressage rider Josef “Pepo” Puch won silver again with Sailor's Blue. It was the third medal for Austria.

Puch celebrates Paralympics silver:

Dressage rider Josef “Pepo” Puch won his second silver medal for the Austrian Paralympics team in Tokyo on Monday. The Swiss by choice, born in Graz, had to admit defeat only to the Briton Lee Pearson (Breezer / 82,447) in Grade II in Freestyle on Sailor's Blue with 81.007 percentage points among eight participants.

Bronze also went to Great Britain with Georgia Wilson (Sakura / 76,754). It's the same result as in the first competition. “It was a phenomenal ride, simply fantastic. I could do a backflip out of sheer joy at our performance,” said Puch. The color of the precious metal wasn't that important to him. “As a rider, I strive for perfect harmony with my horse, and today I can really say that we couldn't have done it better,” said the native of Graz after his performance on the slow jazz number Rhapsody Blue.

Puch also showed himself to be a good loser, congratulating Pearson on the win: “Everyone is always talking about competitiveness. He's a horse man, I'm a horse man and you can see we have a disgrace. It was so often that I won against him . Once it is like that, once like this. “

Puch was delighted with his sixth medal at the Paralympics level. The now 55-year-old won gold in London in 2012 and in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, as well as bronze in England and silver in Brazil.

13 years later

He also booked Puch's second silver prize 13 years to the day after his serious accident. In 2008, the former eventing rider, who competed for the Croatian team for twelve years, fell badly in a competition in Schenefeld, Germany, and broke his third and fourth cervical vertebrae, and has been paralyzed since then.

“I don't think back with sadness,” said Puch after the competition. “The first thing that is important when you have an illness is that you accept it. I did that and it's just like a second life for me now.”

Austria's team has already won three silver medals at the Paralympics in Tokyo: In addition to Puch's two second places, triathlete Florian Brungraber also “silvered” his performance.

The Lower Austrian Andreas Ernhofer had already finished seventh and 14th overall in his swim prelim over 200 m crawl in 3: 39.44 minutes. “I got everything out, went to the absolute limit,” said Ernhofer, who will still compete over 50 m crawl and 50 m back.

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