Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Mohammed welcomes ?Endurance family?

Mohammed welcomes ?Endurance family?
Khaleeji Times

DUBAI ? With 183 horses representing 41 different nations, Dubai will stage the biggest equestrian endurance event in the sport?s history when the FEI Endurance World Championship gets under way today from the purpose-built Dubai Endurance City.

The UAE will be hosting the event for the second time with sponsorship backing of Omega, Nakheel, the National Bank of Dubai and Nissan.

The festivities began with an opening ceremony yesterday before the horses and riders take on the six-stage, 160km race across the UAE?s punishing desert terrain tomorrow. The finals will culminate in a closing ceremony, with an awards presentation on Saturday.

Over the past few weeks, the horses have been arriving in the UAE to acclimatise for a championship that was last held in the emirates back in 1998 when 37 nations took part.

This year, the UAE will compete with General Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and the UAE Defence Minister, leading the way, while Shaikh Ahmad bin Mohammed Al Maktoum will be looking to retain the title he won at the 2002 World Endurance Championship at Jerez in Spain.

Speaking to the international media gathered at the Endurance City, General Shaikh Mohammed said: ?This is a sport that is growing very fast and this week it is our pleasure to stage the biggest gathering ever in endurance history. All Arab horses come from the Arabian Peninsula and I am happy to welcome them home.?

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