Credit : Scoopdyga
Tuesday 26 February - 15h04 | Lucas Tracol
Dismissed by the French Equestrian Federation at the start of the year, Switzerland’s Philippe Guerdat has bounced back quickly, already hired to lead Brazil’s show jumping team. A new job that was largely made possible thanks to the 52nd-ranked rider in the world in the sport, Pedro Veniss. Excited about the idea of working with the Guerdat, who is the father of World No.1 rider Steve, the 36-year-old Brazilian based in Barcelona spoke to GRANDPRIX about the new development, in addition to announcing the return of his supernatural mount Quabri de l'Isle.
You played an important role in bringing Philippe Guerdat in as national coach of Brazil. Why take the lead on this issue?I've always admired Philippe's work as a manager and chef d’equipe, and I'd told him that it has always been a dream that he would work with us. We saw each other at Oliva [Spain] during the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour, and he let me know that he was now free and we could do something together. I wanted to seize this incredible opportunity. The goal with him will be to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. For this, we will have to be one of the top three teams at this year's Pan Am Games in Lima. Philippe's support will undoubtedly help us to fulfill this objective.Why did you turn to him specifically?I think he is one of the best team managers in the world. Brazil will continue to rely on Pedro Paulo Lacerda as chef d’equipe, who nonetheless does not have Philippe's experience and depth of knowledge. Up until now, we have been lacking that at championships. Between 2011–2015, Brazil was able to count on Jean-Maurice Bonneau, who did an excellent job. By having us participate in many Nations Cups in Europe and in the second division, he developed something that had not existed before, as a decade ago we did not take part in those kind of competitions. As a result, we were able to win three CSIO5* Nations Cups – in Calgary, La Baule and Hickstead [the first in 2015 and the two others in 2017 – ed.]. It had been 30–40 years since we’d had that kind of success, and we owe that to Jean-Maurice. Unfortunately, he was unable to finish his job and was ousted before the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro [the Brazilian Federation terminated the Frenchman’s contract at the end of 2015 for economic reasons – ed.], which is unfortunate. [Continued below.]
When you became aware of the possible end of the contract between Philippe Guerdat and the French Federation, did you immediately take the opportunity to reach out to him?He has done incredible work with France, and the Olympic team title they won in 2016 is unforgettable. When he was in the position, all the French were very happy with his work. They wanted him to stay, and their reaction before his dismissal shows how good he is. All the Brazilian riders were immediately very motivated by the prospect of Philippe joining us.Philippe Guerdat has said that he has dreamed of being able to select Rodrigo Pessoa one last time for the Olympic Games. What would his presence mean for the Brazilian team in Tokyo?I had the chance to compete in championships with Rodrigo several times, whether at the Olympic Games or at the World Equestrian Games. It is obvious that with him, Brazil is much stronger, and we need his experience!You are currently one of the leaders of the Brazilian squad, the Auriverdes. What is that like for you?I'm lucky to be able to count on Quabri [de l'Isle – ed.], which is one of the best horses on the international circuit. It is a point of honor for me to compete in Nations Cups, which are my favorite events alongside championships. With the Pan Am Games on the horizon, we envision a competition program that includes the CSIO5*s of La Baule, St. Gallen and Geesteren. We are in any case more motivated than ever!How is Quabri de l'Isle doing?He is doing very well! Since the Geneva CHI in early December, he has enjoyed a good break. He will return next week on small 1.30m courses at the Sunshine Tour, in Vejer de la Frontera [Spain].
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