Jake Saywell might have claimed gold at the Youth Olympic Games but the Worksop equestrian rider believes he could have had so much more from his Nanjing adventure.
No sooner had Saywell arrived in China was the 17-year-old celebrating as he was chosen by his fellow Team GB athletes as flag bearer for the opening ceremony.
And the good times continued to roll as on Tuesday and Wednesday as Saywell – aboard horse Galaxy – helped Europe claim team jumping gold.
Next up was the individual competition but over Saturday and Sunday’s rounds three infringements left him out of the tussle for another medal as he finished joint 10th.
But while Saywell believes it could have been a different story had he been handed an older horse to use for the Games, there was no dampening the Worksop College pupil’s mood as he heads home with a gold medal around his neck.
“I was actually really pleased with my individual performance, my horse just went a bit green going into the combination and just touched the first part and the last part,” he said.
“It is a tough course but I believe my horse could have gone clear if we had just a little bit of luck going into the combination but that’s life.”
“But I am really happy with him. He has come on a lot this week and overall he jumped very good but just made green mistakes.”
“If he was a bit older I maybe wouldn’t have had to push so much, but you can’t complain with going away with a gold medal so I am happy.”
“The main thing I will take away from the Youth Olympics is the gold medal, but it has been a great experience, meeting new people and just the whole atmosphere from the athlete’s village and the competition has been fantastic.”
The competitions come thick and fast for Saywell as he now prepares for October’s Horse of the Year Show.
The British Olympic Association prepares and leads British athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games, in partnership with sport National Governing Bodies to enhance Olympic success and champion the Olympic Values – www.teamgb.com