Cheers Abound For Equestrian Fans
By Dialogo July 23, 2011
The sport isn’t very popular and the site for the event is more than 40 miles from Rio de Janeiro. However, at least a thousand people have attended to watch the dressage, jumping and eventing for the 5th Military World Games at the National Equestrian Center in General Eloy Menezes Equestrian Park.
The jumping competitions are attracting the most viewers. The audience reaction ranges from minutes of silence, in order to not disturb the athletes to waves of emotion similar to that of a sound when someone scores a goal in soccer.
When Captain Claudio Gogga finished his first race on Friday, July 22, fans greeted him with an explosion of joy: the Brazilians rose from the seats, raised their arms, waved their flags and joyously applauded the Captain’s performance.
“I was hoarse from supporting the swim team on Monday. Now I’m going to leave here without a voice,” said Ivone de Carvalho Reinold, a housewife of 50 years. Ivone took advantage of her children’s vacation to bring them to these Games.
During the dressage category, fans remain quiet as the competitors exhibit their skills to the sounds of classical music. But at the end of each show, the fans let their voices be heard. The language that prevails, however, is Spanish.
Of the 20 athletes competing in the Equestrian event, four are Brazilians, while the rest of the riders are from Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Uruguay (four each).
Wearing a shirt of Uruguay, Major Mauro Sathler Gripp, 40, seems to be one of the Uruguayan fans. “I’m a fan of teams riding horses. That is the spirit of the Games of Peace: a Brazilian with a shirt of Uruguay,” he explains.
Accompanied by his wife, Rita Lauren, and his sons, Peter and Bruno, 12 and 9 years respectively, Gripp came from afar to support Brazil and neighboring Uruguay. The Major serves in the Army in Três Corações, a city in Minas Gerais.
“We took the kids on vacation and came to watch this important event,” said Rita.