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Former H&H deputy news editor

Showjumper Rodrigo Pessoa wins international fair play award

Rodrigo-Pessoa-mug.jpg

Brazilian showjumper Rodrigo Pessoa has received the 2010 Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Diploma for a “generous act of fair play” at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) last October.

The award was presented by the International Committee for Fair Play (CIFP) at the Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne yesterday evening (Thursday, 27 January).

But Mr Pessoa was not able to attend the ceremony as he is competing in Florida.

His award came after Mr Pessoa was one of the final four fighting for the individual gold at WEG.

The other challengers were Eric Lamaze of Canada, Belgium’s Philippe Lejeune, and the young Saudi rider Abdullah Sharbatly for whom competition at this level was a first.

Mr Sharbatly was riding Mr Pessoa’s horse Rebozza and asked the more experienced Brazilian for some guidance.

An FEI spokesman said: “Pessoa explained at length how to ride the horse, pointed out the most difficult fences, and gave his opponent advice on how to tackle the course.”

Mr Sharbatly went on to secure the silver medal, while Mr Pessoa finished in fourth.

His generous gesture was acknowledged by loud applause from the spectators in Kentucky.

Mr Pessoa is one of three 2010 Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Diploma recipients, the other two being Bulgarian judo player Yoana Damyanova and triathlete Raquel Mafra Rocha of Portugal.

Football player Amin Motavassel Zadeh from Iran, decathlete Darius Draudvila from Lithuania and Chinese wrestler Gao Feng were awarded the 2010 Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Trophy.

The FEI was also nominated for the 2010 Willi Daume World Fair Play Trophy for the promotion of fair play.

The FEI nomination was for the federation’s inclusion of Para-Equestrian Dressage as one of its disciplines.

The AIPS citation stated, “FEI is the only international federation which includes a special event for the disabled athlete in its World Championship Programme, one which is also of world class and where medals are presented.”