Monday, September 08, 2008
By : Janet Singh
FIFTEEN men and one woman rider have been shortlisted to train for the World Endurance Championships (WEC) in Terengganu on Nov 6-9.
But four will be dropped after centralised training, and the gutsy Norlaily Buniyamin (pic) does not want to be one of them.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin is also among those who have qualified for the WEC, and he has registered Pascha Larzac and Moonlight Pharaoh as his mounts.
"I have a good feeling that I will be able to make the final cut as my horse has been in terrific form this year," said Norlaily, who is more at home when astride her mount, Jessie James riding 160 kilometres under torturing conditions.
So, when it came to getting ready for yesterday's press conference, she found out she had no make-up available.
"I had to rush out and buy lipstick and powder for this function, and my mum gave me an earful," said Norlaily.
Which is just as well because there is no special category in the WEC, and she will be competing against rugged men from all over the world on equally tough horses. "Jessie James is from Australia and has been in Malaysia for the past five years, and we finished second in the Royal Kelantan Endurance (in August)," said Norlaily with a touch of pride.
"I believe the WEC will be better suited for 'local' horses as opposed to horses which have to be flown in and then get them to acclimatise."
National Sports Institute director general Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz said: "In June this year, only five riders had qualified and we were worried on how to get seven more into the WEC.
"And so, it was a nice surprise when 11 more qualified via various races. Now we will have to trim the squad to meet the quota allotted."
The training squad: Datuk Kamaruddin Ghani, Datuk Shuaib Isahak, Datuk Abdullah Taib, Faizal Ismail, Rosdam Noor, Che Ahmad Yusri, Alif Sabidi, Yusran Yusof, Zainuddin Yusof, Rino Rani, Halim Alihan, Bakar Aman, Norlaily Buniyamin, Firdaus Hamid, Azizie Ismail.
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