Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Malaysia: Proposal for equestrian centre in every State

6 Aug 2006
S. Selvam

IN a move to erase any perception that equestrian is a sport for the rich, the Equestrian Association of Malaysia (EAM) has proposed to the Education Ministry and Sports Ministry to identify one boarding school in every State as a training centre.

Its president, Datuk Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis, who is the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, emphasised that equestrian is a sport that Malaysians can excel in, especially endurance riding.

"We have the potential to excel in equine sports, especially endurance riding," said Jamaluddin at the flag and national jersey hand-over ceremony to the endurance team competing in the World Equestrian Games which begins in Aachen, Germany on Sunday.

"Datuk Awang (Kamaruddin) was the No 1 ranked endurance rider in 2001. As such, we have done it (excelled in the sport) and we can do it again."

The endurance riding competition will be held the following day and the Games ends on Sept 3.

Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said handed the flag to team manager Datuk Balakrishna Polanaidoo.

Sultan of Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, an avid rider himself, witnessed the ceremony.

Malaysia will be represented by Corporal Zulkelfi Saari, Mohd Izry Razali, Shamsudin Abdul Roni and Norlaily Buniyamin.

With the exception of Shamsudin, all the riders are from the Royal Terengganu Endurance Stable based in Terengganu.

"We are aware of the perception that the sport caters only to the rich. But we also firmly believe that no sport should be the exclusive right of any group of people," added Jamaluddin.

"What we have, at the moment, are individuals and families who have been very supportive of the sport.

"But we need to take it to the grassroots, and we have submitted a proposal to the Education Ministry and Sports Ministry to have at least one boarding school in each State to have a training centre."

The distance and categories for endurance riding range from 80, 100, 120 and 160 kilometres with the last being categorised as a three-star event. The race is completed within a day.

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