We talked to several members of the National Team and got their feedback about how Vaulting is growing in Brazil and how they are getting prepared for the World Equestrian Games, in Tryon 2018. Their story is a beautiful example of international collaboration:
1. Is vaulting getting a more popular sport in Brazil?
Unfortunately, we are having a really hard time getting vaulting to grow in Brazil…. Our main focus now is to educate more and more people to work with vaulting. We approved, together with the FEI Solidarity Program, two courses: FEI Judge’s course and FEI Coaches course. It might take a while, but I think that if we start with those courses we can have more people involved on the sport.
To take a course, sign up for the FEI Campus.
2. Who’s in the national team? How did you form this team?
Our national team is composed by 9 vaulters:
1) Nicolas Martinez
2) Fernanda Dib Gabriel
3) Olivia Tavares da Cunha
4) Luana Maceiras
5) Valentina Esteves
6) Manuela Chade
7) Manuela Delgado
8) Clara Zerwes
9) Giovanna Pimentel
Our national coach is Agnes Werhahn from Neuss and our coach in Brazil is Carla Massenzi. To form this team we made a selection, Agnes came to Brazil and chose the vaulters she would like to have on the team.
3. How many vaulting clubs/vaulters do you have in Brazil?
Today we have 5 clubs working with vaulting in Brazil. I’m not quite sure but I would say we have between 90 a 100 vaulters (considering all levels).
4. We know you used to be coached by Matthias Lang for the WEG in Kentucky 2010. Are you still in contact with him? Where do you get your knowledge from usually? Do you visit other countries or invite external trainers?
Matthias is a very good friend, definitely one of the persons I admire the most on the vaulting world! We are very lucky to have had him as a coach, it was such a great time! We’re still in contact, Matthias was appointed by the FEI to be one of the two tutors for our Coach’s course in Brazil.
Agnes Werhahn was our national coach from 2005 to 2008 and since 2017 she’s been coaching us again! She is not able to come to Brazil more than one time a year, so she has a group of coaches she trusts that come here every two months. We already had Kathy Steinberg, Bamdad Memarian, Torben Jacobs, Antje Hill, Pauline Riedl and some more. It is very nice to work with different people and learn different perspectives, in my opinion it has made our team grow a lot.
Nico Martinez: “I really have Matthias as a great friend. I had the opportunity to know the athlete but also the person and he is an incredible and intelligent guy. Many times he came to Brazil to train us and he ended up staying at my house. Many times we could say he is a family member.”
5. What would you need most to be able to compete and develop vaulting in your country?
Trained people and HORSES.
6. Is it difficult to get vaulting material in Brazil? Where do you buy it from?
Yes, very difficult. Most of our material comes from Germany. We have some alternatives here in Brazil, but they are not so good.
7. What are your goals in general for this season?
We are very excited to bring our team to the WEG! The vaulters are training very hard and we are excited to show everybody what we prepared for this competition.
8. Do you have national competitions? How many Brazilian vaulters use to participate in international competitions?
Yes, we have one competition every two months! We normally have 25/30 vaulters registered. For international competitions we had almost 15 vaulters registered at the CVI Buenos Aires last year! It was very nice!
Today we have some individual vaulters competing internationally:
1) Flavia Themudo Guida – Senior 3*
2) Marina Gargantini – Junior 2*
3) Clara Zerwes – Children 2*
4) Nicolas Martinez – Senior 3*
5) Fernanda Dib – Senior 2*
9. Please tell us about your journey to the WEG 2018, the plans, goals and difficulties you have. Where will you compete to qualify?
Our journey to the WEG has been challenging. Our main difficulties are horses for training and financial support. Until last WEG (Normandy), the FN used to support us entirely, but it won’t be like that for this year. So the vaulters parents will have to pay for the expenses.
I think our main goal is to be as good as we can and be able to show everybody our very unique way. One of the best memories I have is from the WEG in 2006, after our team did the last freestyle we got a lot of people standing, not because we are a top team, but because we were able to thrill them in a different way. That is definitely something I would like to feel again!
To qualify, Flavia will compete at the CVI in Hollister! Nico already qualified at CVI Buenos Aires last year, now it is up to him to compete at the WEG!
Nico Martinez: “I am classified but my focus is on helping the team, since this is my farewell year for Vaulting and I will be ending my career as an vaulting athlete. So I want to go and represent well my country, my family, my Brazilian friends and the European friends I’ve made during these almost 23 years of Vaulting. I have conquered many things, met many people, trained with the best, visited places that I never imagined to visit …vaulted on the best horses, and all this thanks to a sport that brings together all the people that are involved, forming the great Vaulting Family. And I just have to thanks for this wonderful sport for giving me the best moments of my life until today.”