STOCKLEY-based eventer Astier Nicolas has become the first Wiltshire athlete to claim a gold medal at the Rio Olympics.

The 27-year-old was part of the French quartet who snatched team gold from the grasp of the Australians at the Olympic Equestrian Centre yesterday and added to it with an individual silver medal.

Nicolas, on his horse Piaf De B’Neville, was the leading French rider having stayed on his dressage score of 42.00 with clear rounds in both the cross country and show jumping.

He was backed up by Mathieu Lemoine (61.60) and Hibaut Vallete (65.40) as France claimed the gold medal with a score of 169.00, just 3.80 penalty points ahead of London 2012 winners Germany.

Nicolas followed that up in the jump off between the top 25 riders to determine the individual honours as he had one pole down to take the silver medal, with Michael Jung claiming gold.

Australia had been out in front, with overnight leader Christopher Burton going last on Santano II, but he had two poles down in the show jumping, which saw them slip to the bronze medal spot.

New Zealand had looked like also being in contention for gold after Marlborough’s Jonelle Price went clear on Faerie Dianimo, but Swindon-based Mark Todd, on Leonidas II, had four poles down in their show jumping round to drop them out of the medal places.

Meanwhile, Lower Stanton St Quintin’s Kitty King was one of three Great Britain riders who went clear on the final day.

The 33-year-old and her horse Ceylor LAN finished on a score of 53.60 to lift them up four places to 30th spot overall.

Nicolas now goes into the jump-off between the top 25 riders for a chance of an individual medal, the Frenchman lying in silver medal position behind Grand Slam holder Michael Jung.

Little Cheverell-based Canadian Rebecca Howard finished in 10th place after having one pole down.