Sunday, August 13, 2006

Equestrian/World Endurance Championship: Sultan urges Terengganu to ride into new horizon

10 Aug 2006

SULTAN of Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin wants the State to be equated with endurance horse riding, just like how Malaysia is associated with badminton.

"It is not impossible as Datuk Awang Kamaruddin carved his name when he achieved World No 1 status for endurance riders in 2001," said Sultan Mizan.

The Sultan was speaking to reporters before taking a ride on one of the tracks prepared for the Federation Equestrian International (FEI) 2008 World Endurance Championship.

The two-day championship, held once every four years, is slated for Aug 1-2, 2008 at the Terengganu International Endurance Park in Lembah Bidong.

About 200 riders and 700 volunteers are expected to be involved in the championship.

The Sultan also dismissed claims that the sport was targeted to an elite group and cited Awang as an example.

Awang started off as a stable-boy before becoming a professional horse-rider.

"Horse-riding is a bit like golf in the sense that most of the professionals were caddies.

"Once they succeeded, they received sponsorship from companies and individuals," he said.

The Sultan admitted however that owning and maintaining a horse was costly, but it should not discourage anyone from taking up the sport.

"We have a few equestrian clubs here and all the people need to do is to become a member."

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