Rodolpho Riskalla won the silver medal in equestrian para-training at the Tokyo Paralympics, this Thursday (26). The podium is the Brazilian’s first in Paralympic Games and puts him in the history of the sport. The incredible performance of the ensemble with Don Henrico to the sound of Aquarela do Brasil and Beyoncé moved the rider and thrilled the team present at Equestrian Park. He competed in the grade III category, for walking athletes with unilateral impairment, moderate in all four limbs, severe in the arms or with severe visual impairment.
He was the third to compete in the race, put the bar high, making 74,659 points and led the race for a long time. It was only surpassed by the Dutch Sanne Voets, world champion in 2018 (with the Brazilian in second), who scored 76,585 points. Rodolpho got the silver and the bronze ended up with the Belgian Manon Claeys.
The 37-year-old from São Paulo inherited his grandfather and mother’s passion for riding. Initially an athlete in conventional dressage, disputed in the Olympic Games, he was two-time South American champion in Young Riders (a sort of youth category in equestrianism) in 2004 and three-time national champion.
He was doing an Olympic campaign aiming for a place in Rio-2016 and was living in Europe to prepare for this dream when, in 2015, he contracted bacterial meningitis. As a result of the disease, he underwent tibial amputation of both legs, right hand and fingers of the left hand. He soon migrated to para-training and even participated in the Rio Paralympics, finishing 10th.
But it was in the current cycle that he shone, placing himself as one of the best in the world. So much so that he arrived in Tokyo quoted to win a medal for Brazil. With his faithful companion, Don Henrico, his 18-year-old Hannoveraneer horse, the two performed an impeccable race to the sound of Ary Barroso (with Aquarela do Brasil), Barbara Streisand and Beyoncé.
In addition to the silver achievement in Japan, Rodolpho accumulates several important championships. In 2019, the Brazilian was gold in the individual Hartpury Festival of dressage in England and general champion of the International Competition paraequestrian of Doha 2019, in addition to having won the bronze for teams in the May Tournament in Mannheim, in Germany, in 2019.