Brazil Sweeps South American Games Individual Medals After Nations Cup Victory

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Brazil's individual medal winners João Victor Marcari Oliva (gold),  João Paulo dos Santos (silver) and Leandro Silva (bronze) at the South American Games.
Brazil’s individual medal winners João Victor Marcari Oliva (gold), João Paulo dos Santos (silver) and Leandro Silva (bronze) at the South American Games.

SANTIAGO, Chile, Mar. 12–Brazil swept the South American Games individual medals Tuesday, with the 18-year-old João Victor Marcari Oliva on Xamã dos Pinhais taking the freestyle gold. Team mates João Paulo dos Santos on Veleiro Top won silver and Leandro Silva with Di Caprio the bronze.

João and the 11-year-old Brazilian-bred Lusitano scored 70.781 per cent for gold, João Paulo dos Santos and Veleiro Top were second on 68.938 per cent and Leandro Silva with Di Caprio were third at 68.281 per cent.

Brazil’s medals podium result in the Intermediate Freestyle followed victory in the Nations Cup with a score of 68.729 per cent over Argentina on 65.804 per cent and Chile with 64.704 per cent.

All three teams qualified for the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015.

The preliminary individual Intermediate I competition on Sunday was won by Leandro Silva and Di Caprio 70.132 per cent, João Victor Marcari Oliva and Xamã dos Pinhais were second on 67.632 per cent and João Paulo dos Santos and Veleiro do Top third on 67.533 per cent.

João Victor Marcari Oliva and Xamã dos Pinhais competing in the South American Games individual medal final.
João Victor Marcari Oliva and Xamã dos Pinhais competing in the South American Games individual medal final.

The competition marked the debut of Mariette Whitages of Belgium who recently retired as a long-time FEI 5* judge as coach for Brazilian dressage. Along with Jean-Maurice Bonneau, jumping coach, and Mark Todd, eventing coach, Mariette completes the trio of foreign professionals hired by the Brazilian federation (CBH) to prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“I was happily surprised by the quality of the horses and the motivation of the riders,” Mariette said. “I proposed to the CBH to introduce a system of criteria,which would allow the combinations to belong to the A or the B team. In the future I also would like to see the creation of a talent scouting plan for the young ones. Besides the technical aspects, I really would like to focus on team spirit, respect and discipline as well as a good physical condition of rider and horse.”