Friday, March 02, 2007

Malaysia: Kedah Host Royal International Invitational Ride 2007

Bernama, Malaysian National News Agency

March 01, 2007 23:56 PM

ALOR STAR, March 1 (Bernama) -- Kedah will once again draw world attention when it hosts the Royal Kedah International Invitational Ride 2007 at the Darul Aman Equine Centre in Jitra on March 9 and 10.

The endurance race will be participated by 80 riders, including 15 world-class foreign riders as well as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin and royalty from the Gulf states.

This grand event in the northern region, after the Langkawi Ironman Triathlon 2007 which ended on Feb 24, is set to draw greater public interest in equine sports.

The Darul Aman Equine Centre, run by the state government's investment arm, Darulaman Realty Sdn Bhd, since two years ago, is the only such centre in this part of the country.

When visiting the centre recently, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said said equine sport, although regarded as a sport of the rich, could still result in the development of the equine industry and emerge as a new tourism product for Kedah.

According to her, the competition had attained recognition from the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and Equestrian Association of Malaysia (EAM).

"Kedah's success as the host and the ministry as the joint organiser will have a bearing on the holding of the World Endurance Championship in Terengganu next year."

She said the organisers of the Kedah event should ensure that the competition turns out to be the best as "the fans all over the world will be watching us".

The participation of Sultan Mizan with five others in his team is expected to draw much public attention, especially among equine sport fans in this country.

Among the participating royalty are Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Rashid from Qatar and Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Sultan Al-Nahyan.

Riders from Australia, the United States, Belgium and the Netherlands will also compete against those from Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand.

The endurance race, will be divided into three categories -- 120km, 80km and 40km from 5.30 pm on March 9 to about 10 am the next day.

Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid is confident that the competition would run smoothly and urged the people to warmly welcome the participants.

"As the races are not only held at night but will pass through housing estates, villages, padi fields and rubber plantations, the people must give their full support," he said.

Mahdzir hoped the sport would not only evoke interest among the people but also result in the emergence of top riders to represent Kedah at international events.

He also called on the people to give their cooperation to the authorities in ensuring the safety of the participants.

The participants are expected to arrive in Alor Star tomorrow while some of the horses are already here, including six from Brisbane, Australia, and they are placed at the Darul Aman Equine Centre.

To make it a more interesting event, the organisers will hold some side activities which are open to the public.

The Sultan of Kedah will flag off the races and present the prizes to the winners.

-- BERNAMA

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