Tuesday, March 06, 2007

UAE: Strong response for Emirates Challenge

By M. Satya Narayan, Staff Reporter

Abu Dhabi: The Emirates International Endurance Village's Emirates Challenge is expected to attract around 100 entries for the FEI CEI Three-star 120-km endurance ride on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters here yesterday, Adnan Sultan Saif Al Nuaimi, General Manager of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club (ADEC) said the event, earlier a three-round challenge, will now be a one-off event with Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH) supporting it.

"There will be a total prize money of Dh400,000 and the ride will be run in five stages of 32km, 30km, 24km, 18km and 16km," Adnan said.

"This is a very prestigious event after the President's Cup and the National Day Cup and we expect all the top riders in the UAE along with the foreign riders to take part in it," he said.

Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Head of the ADACH Exhibitions Department, said the Authority was set up last year and aimed at preserving heritage sport and activities.

"We work directly under Shaikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, and this is the first time we are sponsoring an endurance event," he said.

"Apart from horse racing and camel racing, falconry is another sport that we support while we also hold the annual Equestrian and Hunting show," Al Qubaisi said.

"With Purebred Arabian horses playing a lead role in the sport of endurance, we are delighted to be part of this event and hopefully we will continue this association," he said.

ADEC's Marketing and Sponsor Liaison Lara Sawaya said that apart from the Dh400,000 on offer, there were many other awards and cash prizes for the spectators.

"Etihad Airways will be giving away three air tickets and Axiom Telecom will part with eight mobile phones to be raffled free. The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage will also give away a total of Dh10,000 through the free raffle," said Lara.

Meanwhile, Saturday's event will be the penultimate event at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba. Once again, Al Reef Stables are expected to make a strong bid to extend their domination.

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