by AJITPAL SINGH
THE Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin (pic) will lead the Malaysian team in the 160km World Endurance Championships, and as hosts, will be looking to make an impact in the team event at the Terengganu International Endurance Park in Lembah Bidong, Setiu on Nov 6-9.
Among others expected to be picked are veteran rider Datuk Kamaruddin Abd Ganai and Mohd Shuaib Ishak, who together with Tuanku Mizan, are the top local qualifies after having earned four Certificate of Capability (COC) to qualify two horses each in the world meet.
In total, 16 local riders made the event's qualification cut but only 12 will be selected by the National Sports Institute (NSI) today at a function to be attended by Tuanku Mizan in Kuala Lumpur.
A total of 36 countries, including Malaysia, will be competing.
NSI director-general Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz hopes the Malaysian riders will be in their best form for the event. "Tuanku Mizan is one of the best riders we have in the squad. For several months now, he has been undergoing serious physical and mental training for the event," said Ramlan recently.
He said the Malaysian squad have a strong chance to make an impression. "It will be quite tough to challenge the overseas riders in the individual category but there's a chance in the team event," he said.
"The local riders will also start the race with an advantage as they know the course well."
Among the top international riders competing are current World No 1 endurace rider Maria Alvarez Ponton of Spain, France's Jean Daniel Aiello and John Crandell of the US.