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FEI Athlete Representative candidate Rodrigo Pessoa: “It’s the riders’ duty to vote”

Monday, 17 October 2022

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ “It takes two minutes to vote, and it’s very easy via the FEI app. As riders, it’s our duty to vote rather than complain later,” Rodrigo Pessoa says to World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



It’s time to vote! There are two weeks left to vote for the two candidates up for election to become the next FEI Athlete Representative (2022-2026) for the jumping riders. Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa and Russia’s Vladimir Tuganov are the candidates for this extremely important position; as FEI Athlete Representative one of the two will provide a voice to the athlete community in the FEI decision-making process and play an important role in the FEI Jumping Committee. 

The FEI Athlete Representative sits for a four-year term on their respective discipline’s FEI Technical Committee and is also a member of the FEI Athletes Committee with all the other athlete representatives. 

Pessoa, who has served as FEI Athlete Representative on behalf of the jumping riders on two previous terms, now urges everyone eligible to take the time to vote before October 31st. 

“We try to reach out to everyone eligible to vote*; they have their two candidates to choose from and should opt for the one they believe can represent them the best,” Pessoa says to World of Showjumping. 

“I have agreed to run for election for a third time as it was very difficult for the International Jumping Riders Club to find a candidate with the necessary experience, and that was willing to dedicate the time needed for this very important position within the FEI,” Pessoa says. “Through the FEI Athlete Representative, we as riders can impact the FEI’s decision-making process. The FEI Jumping Committee is responsible for several important recommendations that are forwarded to the Board and Executive Board – which means it's vital that we take an active part of the discussions in the committee.”

Through the FEI Athlete Representative, we as riders can impact the FEI’s decision-making process

“As we all know, there are rule adjustments and changes being made every year. All of these adjustments and changes go through the Jumping Committee, and as riders we must actively provide input in that process rather than complain after the changes have been made,” Pessoa says. “The committee also handles allocations of championships, formats and formulas, new ideas brought forwards – it’s a dynamic group with a lot to do, with members that have different views. As FEI Athlete Representative you have to make sure that the riders’ input and opinions will be taken into consideration, and in my opinion, the right candidate is someone who has experience with the many issues that will be on the agenda for the coming term of four years.”

“Seen from the riders’ point of view, one of the most important topics will be the Olympic formula. We are not finished with that discussion yet,” Pessoa points out. “We will be going to the next Olympics with much of the same formula as in Tokyo, although the FEI has reversed on one of their changes prior to the 2020 Games – in Paris the team medals will again be decided before the individual titles. That’s something the IJRC fought strongly for, but we are still not satisfied with the formula for 2024. That’s why it’s important to have someone in the Jumping Committee with a lot of experience, to push the right message forwards on behalf of the riders as we look towards Los Angeles in 2028.”

As riders, it’s our duty to vote rather than complain later

“I am not doing this because of me – the majority of my career is behind me – I am doing this for the future and the next generation,” Pessoa says about running for FEI Athlete Representative for a third time. “One thing is for sure; if I get elected, this will be my last time. We have a few new, younger, board members in the IJRC and I look forward for them to be ready to take on a position like the FEI Athlete Representative in a few years’ time.”

“Important to keep in mind when voting is also that the Chair of the Jumping Committee is always someone put there by the FEI, and we as riders need to have someone who potentially can oppose to those interests and opinions – which are not always the same as ours. From experience, I know you cannot always change the FEI’s point of view, but that does not mean it’s not important to be part of the discussion – we as riders need to know what’s going on at all times so we at least can try to make an impact.”

“It takes two minutes to vote, and it’s very easy via the FEI app. As riders, it’s our duty to vote rather than complain later,” Pessoa closes off.

Click here for Pessoa’s full Motivation Letter.

Click here for Tuganov’s full Motivation Letter.

To vote, click on this link.


*You must be at least 18 years of age at the time of the vote, and have represented your country in a team or individual competition at the Olympic Games or Paralympic Games or Continental Games or World Championships for Seniors or Continental Championships for Seniors in any of the 8 years preceding the date of the elections (including for the avoidance of doubt in the year of the election, i.e. in 2022). The list of international competitions that will qualify you to vote in the Athletes Election 2022 can be consulted here.



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