In a historic edition for the Venezuelan delegation to the XVII Pan American Games, achieved his best result to boost in the individual’s first medal of the equestrian jumping and a sixth place that gives them the classification of two berths at the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016. (Photo © tumundoecuestre.com).
To date the best result for the Venezuelan delegation, it had been a tenth place finish by Pablo Barrios, its main internationally representative. It seemed that an aspiring Olympic quota South American team on paper had a strong favoritism to get it, but things did not go as expected, culminating in seventh place, where only two place were at stake.
With delegations from the United States and Brazil qualified for the Olympic Games, the first to win the bronze medal in the last World Equestrian Games in Normandy and the second for hosting the Games, eight teams seeking two spots to take them to the maximum sporting event on the planet, but Venezuela did not run with luck this time on his side, beating the delegations of Mexico, Uruguay and Guatemala.
The final day for the aspirations focused on the individual presence for 2016 Rio, and its best exponents who had such an important responsibility. Two rounds with a first cut of the top 20 riders for the second round, were presented in Toronto to seek six games quotas and gold, silver and bronze medal.
Emanuel Andrade, Pablo Barrios and Andres Rodriguez who currently occupy the 158, 63 and 58 of the FEI World Ranking were measured to the best riders in the region, including the leaders of the Pan American Ranking (PAEC) Kent Farrington (USA) World No. 3 and McLain Ward (USA) world No. 5. The lone always representative of the Venezuelan delegation Pablo Barrios and the horse Antares failed to complete a solid first round and 12 fouls move to place 23th, would leave him out of the second round.
That was how the next generation led by Andres Rodriguez with 31 years old, doit a clear round in the first round and 18 years old Emanuel Andrade who shot down a pole to 4 fouls, went to the second round with a real chance to opt for a medal and win a quota to include them in the next Olympic Games. First Emanuel Andrade with his horse Hardrock Z secured the first berth to the Olympics with a clear round of glory, which included for the first time an athlete of show jumping that was not Pablo Barrios and for the first time, someone who had so short age inscribed his name on the maximum fair.
The celebration had no Andrade alone, Rodriguez repeated the clear round on the first course which secured the second berth to the Olympics for the first time in the history of the South American country to opt for a medal at the Pan American Games twice, and the results after finishing the second round, leaving the young Andrade to go to the jump-off for the bronze medal, while Rodriguez would for gold or silver.
The first to go were the contenders for the bronze medal, a total of 5 riders were faced with nationalities of Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and the United States. First it was the Venezuelan who aggressively came to mark time to beat, but the double combination grouping toppling two obstacles to complete his court on 8 faults. In the bronze medal final was held by the American Lauren Hough, while Emanuel was the sixth place, first historic step for the delegation, which could never overcome a tenth place.
It was the turn of Andrés Rodríguez and his horse Darlon van Groenhove, to fight with McLain Ward the Pan American gold medal. As first court should place a result that marked the pressure on his rival, but a takedown for 4 faults at moment, he kept things in favor of Venezuela. Surely now the time brokered by Rodriguez was his best ally, as it was the only rider in the jump-off that could cut the barrier of 40 seconds and if case that McLain Ward knock a rail, knew he had to hurry, because have a great possibility of bringing down again, but the two-time Olympic medalist took out his experience afloat, for a very conservative speed course, which ultimately paid him the fruits of a perfect pitch with more than 3 seconds above the time Andres, to take gold. While McLain made a careful round, his horse Rothchild beating down the rod of final jump, but this time luck smiled to not drop the obstacle that could give the final glory to the Venezuelan representation.
Venezuela now has two berths to the Olympics in specialty of Show Jumping, thanks to performances by Andres Rodriguez and Emanuel Andrade, who no doubt are called to be the delegation of relief.