Monday, April 17, 2006

130 riders set for King's Cup

TODAY is the last day to submit entries for His Majesty King Hamad's Endurance Championship scheduled to start tomorrow at 11pm at the Bahrain International Endurance Village premises in Sakhir. A total of 130 riders, including 55 from the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have so far confirmed their participation in this prestigious event to be held under the patronage of Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

Shaikh Nasser, who is the captain of the Royal Endurance Team, will lead the Bahraini riders in this event which is sponsored by Al Areen Resort and Gulf Energy for the second consecutive year and consists of 120-km race for the juniors and a 130-km race for the seniors.

The junior race will be divided into five stages with 32 kms for the first and second stages, 20 kms each for the third and fourth stages, and 16 kms for the fifth.

In the senior race, 30 kms were approved for the first two stages, 30 kms for the third, 20 kms for the fourth and 16 kms for the fifth.

Meanwhile, Al Areen Resort and Gulf Energy signed a BD50,000 sponsorship agreements yesterday at the Al Areen Resort premises, near the endurance village.

Shaikh Nasser attended the agreement ceremony as well as Shaikh Ahmed bin Ali Al Khalifa, chairman of both Al Areen Resort and Gulf Energy.

Breef's Endurance Committee chairman Shaikh Faisal bin Rashid Al Khalifa said this year's event is expected to feature one of the most exciting races in the season with top riders from Bahrain and other GCC countries taking part.

Shaikh Faisal, who will lead the Al Talia Stable team in the championship, confirmed that FEI (International Equestrian Federation) rules will be applied in the championship. Riders taking part in the junior race must be aged between 14 and 21, and all horses should have an international passport issued by FEI.

Shaikh Faisal tipped the Bahrainis to dominate this event with top riders such as Abdulhaq Qadoori, Yousef Taher and Khalid Al Khatiri of the Royal Endurance Team taking part.

He asserted that all riders are eligible to bring safety helmets with them for the races and only one person is allowed inside the veterinary area. Veterinary tests will be made just before the start of the race.

Shaikh Faisal said the Breef assigned a team of highly qualified judges for the championship. A judges committee is headed by Britain's Carol Bonton and includes three Bahrainis - Ghalib Al Alawi, Ali Ghuloom and Al Zo'bi.

India's Abdulaziz Al Shaikh was approved as the event commissioner while Bahrain's Mohammed Dadulla, Mahmood Abdulsaheb, Fahad Al Rumaihi were approved as supervisors.

A veterinary team was also selected for the event and includes officials from Saudi Arabia, India, Belgium, Italy, Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq and Bahrain.

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