Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bahrain riders finish second

Gulf Daily News
BAHRAIN's Royal Endurance Team clinched second place overall in the FEI European Endurance Championship Open in Companhia das Lezirias, Lisbon.The six-member team, led by Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, were behind eventual winners France and ahead of Spain in this six-stage event which was over 160 kms.

Riding Basic Instinct, Shaikh Nasser finished eighth overall in a time of eight hours, 45 minutes 29 seconds and with an average speed of 18.268 kmph.

The remaining Bahrainis who completed the race were Ghazi Al Dossary (9:01:43), Mohammed Abdulaziz (9:09:44) and Yousif Taher (9:09:45) who took 12th, 13th and 14th places, respectively.

The championship was won by Mubarak Khalifa Al Shafya of the UAE who steered Zakah Zahra to finish the race in 8:22:13 with an average speed of 19.115 kmph.

In second place was French rider Jean Phillippe (8:23:12), ahead of Jaume Punti (8:23:18) of Spain who was followed by compatriot Maria Alvarez (8:23:43) in fourth.

Five of Bahrain's six riders completed the first stage which was over 35 kms after Mahmood was eliminated when his horse Antar failed to pass veterinary inspection at the end of the stage.

The team was then reduced to four riders as Shaikh Daij, riding Shar Rushkin, was eliminated for the same reason.

However, the remaining riders survived the challenge and continued for a remarkable second-place achievement.

The team staged a fine comeback starting from the third stage where they moved from seventh to third behind the UAE and leaders France.

In the final stage, the UAE team stumbled in the last 200 metres as Shaikh Majid bin Mohammed Al Maktoom fell from his horse while Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed Al Maktoom was eliminated.

Shaikh Nasser was congratulated after the race by Breef first vice-president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa who was present at the village.

General Organisation for Youth and Sports president Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, who was also at the venue, praised members of the team on their achievement.

The championship was also attended by Dubai ruler Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoom.

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