Sydney’s Edwina Tops-Alexander beats field of men to win showjumping’s richest eventDecember 21, 2018
Australian showjumper Edwina Tops-Alexander has become the first winner of the lucrative Global Champions Tour Super Grand Prix – beating a field of men to take the prize.
Sixteen winners of the individual Grand Prix events staged throughout the season assembled in Prague's O2 Arena to compete for the $US13.7 million ($A19.0 million) prize pot – the sport's richest event.
Tops-Alexander, the only woman to make the final showdown and who had her first child 18 months ago, came out on top in a nailbiting battle with German veteran Ludger Beerbaum.
"I don't feel any different as a woman but it does feel good to beat the boys," the 44-year-old said.
Riding her mare California she clocked the fastest round with the lowest faults, under half a second faster than Beerbaum and almost four seconds ahead of Dutchman Frank Schuttert.
"I really didn't think I had won," she said.
"I couldn't see the scoreboard. After I had the fence down I thought I have just got to go for it. I can't believe it. I've had the most amazing three weeks of my life and to finish by winning the LGCT Super Grand Prix is incredible."
Tops-Alexander, who grew up in Sydney and has represented Australia at three Olympic Games, said juggling the demands of motherhood and showjumping has made her more relaxed.
"I split my times between the two jobs as both are equally important to me," she said. "So I can focus on that one thing during that time and then I am more relaxed about it."
The Global Champions Series has proved a hit with events introduced in Shanghai, Doha and Miami beach.
As glamorous as it sounds, Tops-Alexander says a huge effort is involved, with daughter Chloe usually travelling with her.
"I have good help. I couldn't do this on my own," she said.
Tops-Alexander has welcomed the International Federation for Equestrian Sports move to help female athletes combine motherhood with riding, whereby rankings points are frozen while the rider is pregnant.
"I hope it's also positive for other women to see that you can come back to sport," she said of her continued success.
"Being a mother, it doesn't have to hinder your lifestyle and your goals."
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