Wednesday, March 14, 2007

WEC-Young Riders: Ahmad to lead UAE contingent

By M. Satya Narayan, Staff Reporter

Buenos Aires: Former world champion and Doha Asian Games team gold medallist Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum leads a six-member UAE team at the World Junior & Young Riders Endurance Championship, 2007 to be held here on March 16.

Shaikh Ahmad along with Shaikh Mayed Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who was also in the gold medal winning team at the Doha Asiad along with Shaikh Abdullah Bin Faisal Al Qasimi, Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Faisal Al Qasimi, Mansoor Ahmad Al Subose and Mohammad Ahmad Ali Al Subose comprise the six-member UAE team.

Shaikh Abdullah and Shaikh Ahmad had won the silver and bronze medals respectively in the last World Junior & Young Riders Endurance Championship held in Bahrain in 2005 and the UAE team will be looking to improve on that display in conditions which will be totally new and unfamiliar to them.

The UAE riders, who have almost dominated the European and Asian endurance circuits, now venture out into the South American continent with a total of about 60 riders expected to be in the fray.

Though the final list of riders and teams will be known only after tomorrow's final veterinary check, over 10 teams are expected to be in the running for the team event while all the entrants will take a shot at the individual medals.

Apart from Shaikh Abdullah Bin Faisal Al Qasimi and Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Faisal Al Qasimi, whose horses have arrived here from the UAE, the others will be riding Uruguyan horses owned by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Shaikh Mohammad has based about 30 endurance horses in Uruguay and about six of them have arrived here after qualifying for the championship.

The 120-km event will be held at the Campo De Mayo on the outskirts of Buenos Aires and will be contested over five stages of 37km, 32km, 21km, 20km and 9km.

An opening ceremony later this evening (Buenos Aries time is about seven hours behind UAE time) will start the event.

"The horses are all in good condition and we have arrived here well in advance to make all preparations.

"The list of four names for the team will only be finalised after the final vet check and we are hoping the horses will be fit and pass the test," said Ali Moosa, Head of Endurance, Dubai Equestrian Club.

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