Monday, December 12, 2005
BAHRAIN's national endurance team completed their preparations for the Gulf Energy World Junior Endurance Championship starting in Sakhir on Thursday.
The team, captained by Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, includes Breef vice-president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Shaikha Najla bint Salman Al Khalifa, Mohammed Abdulsamad, Abdulaziz Adam, Salem Al Otaibi, Ahmed Hassan, Shaikh Saqer bin Khalid Al Khalifa, Maytham Ahmed, Ebrahim Al Jebouri, Mohammed Abdulaziz and Fahad Sulaiman.
The 12 were selected from 24 riders according to their performance and results in previous races.
Shaikh Nasser asserted his pride in hosting this championship which will be held in Bahrain for the first time. He also said it is quite an achievement for Bahrain in organising this 120-km event in which 30 countries represented by 140 riders are taking part.
"Hosting such a prestigious event is a big challenge for Bahrain where endurance races started only five years ago," said Shaikh Nasser.
He thanked the International Equestrian Federation for giving Bahrain the honour of hosting the race to be held on Saturday and divided into five stages.
"This championship will draw the attention of millions around the world with riders from 30 countries taking part, which has never happened in any event in the past," said Shaikh Nasser.
He tipped the UAE, France, Belgium and Australia to clinch podium positions and said these teams have a vast experience in endurance races.
However, Shaikh Nasser said he is confident that the Bahraini team will put up a good performance in the championship and show competitive spirits.
"Our team has prepared very well for this championship. They have been training seriously and are determined to give off their best," said Shaikh Nasser.
The Breef chief praised the efforts of the organising committee, headed by General Organisation for Youth and Sports president Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, which made necessary arrangements in preparing the endurance village which will be the venue of the race.
Shaikh Nasser thanked His Majesty King Hamad for supporting this sport and for his directives to make major upgrades at the village and establish new facilities which gained the admiration of the participants since their arrival in Bahrain.
"This support from His Majesty adds more responsibilities on us as Bahraini riders to assert the good reputation of Bahrain's endurance sport. The recent upgrade work on the village will certainly contribute to improve the level of the Bahraini riders in future local events," he said.
Shaikh Nasser also expressed appreciation for the efforts of vice-president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa during his stay abroad for academic commitments. Meanwhile, the final rehearsal of the opening ceremony is scheduled for today at 5pm at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir where the ceremony will be held.
By Steph - December 12, 2005
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