Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Kanavy hopes to revive US domination

Gulf Daily News
By M. Satya Narayan, Staff Reporter

Aachen, Germany: Two-time world endurance champion Valerie Kanavy is here at the World Equestrian Games endurance championship in a new role.

A regular competitor on the international circuit, Kanavy won the second of her gold medals in the UAE in 1998. She also has a silver medal to her credit, finishing second behind her daughter Daniella.

Here in Aachen, Kanavy is the Chef de Equipe of the US team, a role which is certain to bring out the fighting qualities that she displayed as a rider par excellence.

Since 1998 the US domination over the endurance sport has been halted with France and the UAE grabbing most of the limelight.

"Yes, we have lost out to other countries. But we are working towards regaining the past glory," Kanavy told Gulf News as she went about directing her team of five riders.

"In the past the US equestrian authorities have not taken some constructive advice from the riders. However, now I can try and implement some of the ideas and I am confident that we can be back as a strong force," said Kanavy.

Becky Hart won three world titles after another American Cassandra Schuler won the first title at the inaugural event in 1986. Valerie and her daughter won the next three before the French put an end to the US domination in 2000 with a 1-2-3 finish. In 2002 the UAE won the individual gold and France took it again in 2005.

"We have a strong talent as far as riders are concerned. But it is also true that riders from the UAE have become world-beaters in a short span of time. His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is an ace horseman and under his guidance the UAE have done very well," she said.

The grandmother-champion from US, however, stated that she had not quit competitive riding and was looking forward to getting back to the saddle.

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