Monday, August 08, 2005

Jordanian princess vies for equestrian presidency

August 8, 2005

AMMAN -- Princess Haya, half sister of Jordan's King Abdullah II and wife of Dubai Crown Prince Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, will run for the presidency of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), she told AFP on Sunday.

A keen athlete with a passion for riding, the 31-year-old princess represented Jordan at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games - the first Arab woman to do so -- competing in show jumping.

In a phone interview from London where she is currently, Princess Haya said she "will run in April for the presidency" of the FEI in the hope of promoting and revitalizing the sport across the globe "through a modern and efficient world-class body".

"Ensuring that the Federation is fully transparent and works in accordance with sound and modern financial systems is of utmost importance to me, and imperative for the development and growth of the equestrian sport internationally," she said.

Princess Haya has taken part in several international competitions, representing Jordan at Sydney 2000 and at the World Championships in Jerez 2002. She recently took part in the Dubai 2005 World Endurance Championship and is a member of the honorary committee of the Spanish Riding School.

The princess has represented Jordan in the FEI General Assembly and was chairperson of the Middle East and Western Asian sub-group from 1992-1996.

"I see equestrianism as a traditional sport with a modern future," the princess - who is daughter of the late King Hussein - said.

Princess Haya is also a member of the International Board of Directors of Right to Play, an athlete-driven organization dedicated to bringing sports and recreation to children affected by war, poverty disease and illness.

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