Sunday, January 09, 2005

WEC: Arrivals Begin in UAE

Mohammed to lead strong UAE challenge
Khaleej Times
9 January 2005

DUBAI - General Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister, will lead a formidable field of riders in the Federation Equestre Internationale World Endurance Championships to be held at the Dubai Endurance Village from January 26-29.

The event forms part of the Dubai Shopping Festival 2005 calendar of events. With a record number of horses from 41 nations participating this year, the UAE will be hosting the event for the second time. The ride, which is a sure test of strength and stamina through long and ardous terrain, is hopefully to be added as a discipline to the Olympic Games.

The horses were all due to start arriving in Dubai from yesterday allowing them time to acclimatize ahead of the competition.

The first endurance event, which was held in 1998 with participants from 37 countries, was shaped into a mega racing affair thanks to the keen initiative and directives of the late president, Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who was behind the development of the sport in the country. Subsequently the event went on to be recorded as the biggest of its kind in the Guinness Book of Records.

With the championship planned to be one of the highest international standards and approved by FEI, the UAE office of Emirates International Endurance Racing (EIER), is sparing no efforts in organising this mammoth event. As all preparations are done under the supervision of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the event acts as another harbinger of world-class sports and business in the UAE.

Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Maktoum is the current holder of the World Endurance Champion title he won in 2002 in Spain.

Each participating country can enter a team of four or three in the teams competition and can also compete as individuals. The Dubai Endurance Village, the Organising Committee and the FEI now look forward to welcoming the expected 800 riders, crew members, team vets, team doctors, horse owners and officials who will participte in what is likely to be the biggest Equestrian World Championship ever.

The Dubai Shopping Festival 2005 runs between January 12 and February 12.

[EnduranceNet Coverage.]

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