Monday, October 06, 2008

Malaysia WEC: Teammates at ease with the King

Norlaily Buniyamin with a horse at the Selangor Turf Club in Sungei
Besi yesterday. (Inset)

Ajitpal Singh -

THE Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, who is passionate about horse riding, wants his compatriots to treat him like any other competitor when they ride together at the World Endurance Championships in Setiu, Terengganu on Nov 6-9.

This was revealed by his teammates -- Abdul Halim Alihan, Datuk Mohd Shuaib Isahak and Norlaily Buniyamin -- who have raced together with Tuanku Mizan in both local and international competitions for the past two years.

"Tuanku Mizan is truly a professional endurance rider.

"He told me and others several times to treat him just like any other layman in competitions," said Abdul Halim, who will be making his debut at the world meet.

"The King is also very supportive towards us during competitions. He often gives us advice and guidance."

Abdul Halim, who works as a horse trainer at the Royal Terengganu Stable Club in Sungei Besi, said he would not have qualified for the world meet if not for the King.

"I have been one of the King's horse trainers for the past two years. Tuanku Mizan encouraged me to venture into competitive riding and even loaned me his horse (Brookleigh Kentara) for competitions.

"I managed to earn two Certificates of Capability (COC) on this horse for the world meet," added the 27-year-old who is from Kuching.

Meanwhile, Norlaily, who will be competing in her second world meet in Terengganu, said Tuanku Mizan doesn't like to be bonded with certain protocols in competitions.

"I have traveled with him for many competitions and he treats me like a friend. We exchange ideas on tactics and strategies when we are competing," said the 47-year-old, the only woman local rider in the event.

Mohd Shuiab said Tuanku Mizan's warm and gentle attitude makes everyone in the team feel comfortable.

"He's always wiling to learn from others without hesitation. It's always a pleasure to ride with him," said Mohd Shuiab, who will ride Blue Bronco at the world meet.

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