Monday, August 11, 2008

Bahrain: Shaikh Nasser joyful for victory of Shaikh Khalid in the Thetford race

Bahrain News Agency
London, Aug 1

The captain of the Bahraini royal endurance team Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa expressed his great joy on the first European victory of Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, leader of al Khalidiya Stables, at the Thetford race.

The victory in the fourth European event for the Royal Team adds to the good days Shaikh Khalid is having after graduating from the Toyal Military Academy Sandhurst, Shaikh Nasser said. The team is preparing for the World Endurance Championship in Malaysia to be held in November. The generous support of Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Mmaktoom and his sons Shaikh Hamdan and Shaikh Majed was also a great source of joy, Shaikh Nasser said.

Shaikh Khalid repeated his achievement of last year by scoring the fastest time in the 160 kilometre race. Shaikh Khalid praised the level exhibited by Shaikh Khalid in the race and his performance in its six stages. Shaikh Kkhalid deserved the victory which he earned after a putting a lot of efforts for this race, Shaikh Nasser said. On his part, Shaikh Kkhalid extended his appreciation for Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoom, Shaikh Hamdan and Shaikh Majed for their great support throughout the event.

Shaikh Khalid said the race would be a beautiful memory as it was the first time he won a European Endurance Championship. He said that the guidance of his brother Shaikh Nasser has led him to the finish line of the race. Shaikh Nasser became a main source of support after his withdrawal from the race, he said. Shaikh Duaij Bin Salman Al Khalifa praised the big victory of Shaikh Khalid, especially that the race witnessed strong competition from the very beginning. As a Bahraini Team, we were keen to stay together until the end but circumstances played against us, he said. Shaikh Nasser decided to withdraw, rider Mohammed Abdul Aziz was slightly injured after his horse tripped, he said.

Only three were left with Ahmed Abdulla who tried his best but could not complete the race as his horse did not pass the veterinarian checkup, he explained. Shaikh Duaij commended the significant role Shaikh Nasser had in guiding the team during the remaining phases of the highly competitive race. The Thetford race witnessed a steamy competition with the positions of jockeys shifting at every stage. At the second stage of the race, both Shaikh Khalid and Shaikh Duaij crossed the distance in 3.48.28. Mohammed Abdul Aziz completed the distance in 3.51.30 and Ahmed Abdullah in 3.46.29.

Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoom had the lead with 3.42.06. at the 120 km, Yousif Ali Taher completed the distance 3.41.56 whereas Ghazi Al Dosseri's horse was injured and therefore lost time. In the 120 km for youth, Mohammed Abdulsamad crossed the distance in 3.31.09. After the first stage, Sshaikh Nasser came third with 2.06.42 while Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid has the lead with 2.05.37. Ahmed Abdullah came third with 2.06.28 and Shaikh Khalid came fifth.

Although Shaikh Mohammed Min Rashid was ahead in the third stage, Shaikh Khalid continued with a time of 5.24.10. Ahmed Abdulla had a time of 5.29.09 and Yousif Taher 4.05.08. the members of the royal team were still present in the fourth stage for 160km and 120km. Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad had a time of 6.22.27, Ahmed Abdullah with 6.19. 46 and Shaikh Duaij Bin Salman 6.23.13. Mohammed Abdul Samad withdrew at 120 km because he got dehydrated.

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