Tuesday, December 13, 2005
By RAMI HULAYYEL
THE all-women Germany team are in an upbeat mood ahead of the Gulf Energy World Junior Endurance Championship to be held in Bahrain from Thursday to Sunday.
The delegation, which arrived in the Kingdom two weeks ago, consist of six women riders aged between 17 and 21.
Aylissa Zwicki, Babette Frank, Stephanie Schrader, Sonja Gobel, Marina Berchtold and Joana Al Samarraie will be among 140 riders vying for glory in this 120-km event which will be held at the Endurance Village in Sakhir.
The race itself is divided into five stages. The first two stages will consist of 30 kms each while the third and fourth will be of 25 and 20 kms respectively. The final stage will be held over 15 kms.
Team's chef de equipe Roy Thiele said the team had a long-term preparation programme for this event which started in January this year. Right now the youngsters are looking forward to this prestigious championship.
"The riders have been training individually in different areas like as Kaiserslautern and Heidelberg. The team could only assemble last month in Luneburger Heide, North of Germany, for four days before coming to Bahrain," said Thiele.
Among the team's most influential rider is Babette, a 20-year-old hopeful, who will be riding Bashira in this championship.
Interestingly, she won all the three 120-km qualifying races earlier this year which makes her one of the top contenders for the title.
Crew member Gabriele Reiser said the horses were carefully selected from different stables in Germany where there are a few Arab horses as well.
The riders were also selected after the Germany Equestrian Federation organised a number of selection races throughout the year. The best six riders out of 60 were included for this championship.
Meanwhile, defending champions Italy completed their line-up for the championship with the arrival of their crew members and assistants.
Six riders, including Nicola Tarducci and Enrico Ercoli, who took part in the last edition in 2003 in Rome, will be hoping to retain the title.
Tarducci finished 33rd in that championship while Ercoli was unable to compete the race after his horse suffered an injury.
Other team members are Guilia Belfanti, Elena Di Valvassone, Francesco Iovino and Chiara Marrama.
Tarducci said he is pleased with the team's preparations and praised the Bahrain course which he said was quite different from what they are used to back home.
"We have been training in Italy for about a year but with each rider practising alone at his area," said Tarducci who was training at Sansepolcro City, North of Italy.
Tarducci said he is hoping to complete the race without any problems and is aiming to be among the top five riders by the end of the race. He tipped the UAE, France and Bahrain to be on the podium.
Meanwhile, Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation's second vice-president Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa met with delegation heads and conveyed the greetings of organising committee chairman and General Organisation for Youth and Sports president Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa.
By Steph - December 13, 2005
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