Team Brazil On Winning Form at the 2022 South American Games

Sat, 10/22/2022 - 12:24
2022 South American Games
The Brazilian dressage team swept the board at the 2022 South American Games :: Photos © Roberta Prescott

The Brazilian dressage team with riders Paulo Cesar Dos Santos and  Victor Trielli Ávila were the grand winners of the 2022 South American Games in Asuncion, Paraguay, which took place on 2 - 11 October 2022 at the Club Hípico Paraguayo.

South American Games

The South American Games organised by Organizacion Deportiva Sudamericana (ODESUR) and recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are the continent's multi-sports event.

These Games are the most important competition of the South American Sports Organisation (ODESUR). In order to participate, all athletes must be entered by their National Olympic Committee.

There are 15 countries from South America, Central America and the Caribbean invited by ODESUR to participate in the South American Games.The Games are held every four years.

Introduction of Equestrian sport in the South American Games dates back to 1978, but it has been sporadic, some editions taking place with and some without. The FEI and PAEC (Pan American Equestrian Confederation) oversee the management of the equestrian part.

Low Participation, Many Hurdles to Jump

This year only 4 of the 15 potential countries participated in the South American Games. The event held much importance for Latin American countries who could qualify there for the Pan American Games in 2023, which then serves as a qualifier for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Paulo dos Santos on Fidel da Sasa JE
Not only are the travelling conditions in Latin America sub standard (poor roads, shipping by land in low quality truck and trailers), only few National Olympic Committees provide sufficient financial support to the riders to travel and compete to the Games. The horses from Uruguay had to stay 11 days at the show in order to get a better price on the chartered flight back to Montevideo. The rider from Uruguay had to take a detour because Argentina didn't allow him entry into the country. The Brazilian equestrian federation only covered the costs for road transport, which meant that the horses had to be shipped 2800 kilometers on poor condition roads. On the way home they were stopped at the border for 5 days due to documentation issues. The horses also had to do a 15-day quarantine before the show. 

Fortunately the venue at the Paraguayan Club was very nice with good footing and stabling, but witnesses told Eurodressage that the organisation of the show itself left much to be desired.

The show organizers changed the schedule and qualification system after (!) the first day of competition. Originally the first round (Prix St Georges + Grand Prix) was meant as a qualifier for the second round which counted for the medals, but witness told Eurodressage that PAEC took the overnight decision that both the first and second round was to count for the team ranking. At the end of the South American Games riders were still unsure whether two or three teams had qualified for the 2023 Pan American Games and which class actually ended up serving as qualification class. In the end it turned out to be the freestyle!

Brazil on Winning Form

Victor Avila, Paulo dos Santos, Vinicius Miranda da Costa
The Brazilian riders dominated the 2022 South American Games with small tour rider Paulo Cesar dos Santos and Grand Prix rider Victor Trielli Ávila topping the board. Brazil took team gold as well as the complete set of individual medals. Brazilian had Norbert van Laak present as team trainer and Pia Aragao as chef d'equipe.

At small tour level Dos Santos and the 13-year old Brazilian bred Lusitano Fidel da Sasa JE (by Saloio x MI Visqueiro) bested the field in all three round. He scored 68.471% in the Prix St Georges, 68.470% in the Intermediaire I and 73.150% in the Intermediaire I Kur to Music. Dos Santos trains with Hugo Perreira and has been competing Fidel at international small tour level since 2019. He is the head rider at Fazenda Sasa JE located in the countryside in the state of Sao Paulo.

At big tour level there were only two competitors and it was Brazilian Victor Trielli Ávila and Sandra Zecca's 16-year old Lusitano Corsario IGS (by Travesso FC x Zique) who won all three rounds. They scored 68.935% in the Grand Prix, 67.702% in the Special and 71.410% in the freestyle.  The pair made its international small tour debut in 2019 and moved to Grand Prix level in 2020. Victor Avila is a professional rider with his own training center two hours from Sao Paulo. He trains with Paulo Caetano.

Victor Avila on Corsario IGS
The individual medals were decided by the freestyle class and Paulo dos Santos won the individual gold, while Victor Avila got the silver even though his Kur ride was challenging as the music stopped halfway through his test due to a power outage. The bronze went to Brazilian Vinicius Miranda da Costa on the 16-year old Portuguese bred Lusitano Biso das Lezirias (by Solar Pinhais x Maravilha). He scored 71.215% in his Inter I freestyle. Biso is a familiar face to Europeans dressage lovers. In 2016 and 2017 he was competed by Portuguese Maria Caetano. 

Photos © Roberta Prescott - Complete coverage of the 2022 South American Games on

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