Saturday, March 31, 2007

Malaysia: YDSM Positive On M'sia Hosting FEI World Endurance Race

From Rozaini Ahmad

PARIS, March 31 (Bernama) -- The Yayasan Diraja Sultan Mizan (YDSM) is confident of securing the right to organise the World Endurance Race Championship 2008 (WEC) based on the direct involvement of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin in bringing the prestigious meet to Malaysia.

YDSM Deputy Chairman Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor said the involvement of Sultan Mizan, who is the Sultan of Terengganu and Chairman of YDSM, has convinced the Federation Equestre International (FEI) that Malaysia is committed to organising the championship which also has the backing of the federal and Terengganu governments.

"His Royal Highness Sultan Mizan has taken on the responsibility of bringing the organisation of the WEC, held once in four years, to Malaysia in 2008. He was given that mandate while attending the Annual General Meeting of FEI in Compein, France in 2005.

"His Royal Highness is also an avid endurance rider. His involvement in the sport has instilled confidence in all parties, including FEI, that Malaysia is ready to host the WEC," he told Bernama here.

Salleh is in Paris on behalf of Sultan Mizan and YDSM for a flag handing over ceremony where Malaysia will officially be given the right to organise WEC 2008. The ceremony takes place at the end of FEI's two-day World Forum which begins today.

According to Salleh, on the second and last day of the forum tomorrow, Equestrian Association of Malaysia (EAM) President Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis, who is also Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, will outline Malaysia's preparation for WEC 2008 which will be held in Lembah Bidong, Merang, Setiu in Terengganu from Nov 8 to 10 next year.

"This is the first time that the championship will be held in a tropical country and FEI wants to ensure that the organiser will do its utmost best for the horses, the riders and the whole aspect of the championship.

"It is a challenge to us due to the fact that FEI still has certain reservations towards our capability in organising the world event. We will use the forum as a platform to convince them," he said.

Salleh said several official trial runs would be organised at the newly opened Terengganu International Equestrian Park (TIEP) to ensure that the infrastructure is fully tested and ready for the WEC next year.

Sultan Mizan will participate in the YDSM-Penn Endurance Challenge 2007 which will be held over two days from May 4 at the TIEP. The event will offer qualification points for the WEC 2008.

Salleh said the WEC 2008 would be held during Visit Terengganu Year 2008 and he expected the championship to draw tourists to the state, which is known for its diverse natural treasures and tourist spots.


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