Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bahrain: Shaikh Nasser claims title


ROYAL Endurance Team captain Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa emerged overall champion of the Endurance Horseride Qualifying Championship, the first endurance event of the season, held at the Bahrain International Endurance Village in Sakhir.

After leading the Bahrain national team to a remarkable third-place finish in the World Championship held two weeks ago in Malaysia, Shaikh Nasser was again unstoppable as he competed with the Kingdom's best riders in this 90-km race.

More than 75 riders, representing different stables from across the Kingdom, took part in this championship which featured four stages, starting with 30km for the first, 25km for the second, 20km for the third and 15km for the fourth.

Shaikh Nasser, the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) president, steered Omsura Nasrohn to victory in three hours, 41 minutes and 27 seconds with an average speed of 24 kms per hour.

Second place went to Abdulhaq Qadoori, also of the Royal Endurance Team, in 3:59:54.
He was followed by Al Fateh Stable rider Isa Al Dossary, the surprise of the championship, who rounded off the podium with an impressive third-place finish in 4:13:24.

Ibrahim Al Jabouri of Al Fateh Stable was fourth while Royal Endurance Team rider Abdulrahman Al Saad, who had a good start, went down to settle in fifth position.
The race, which got underway at 5am, saw Raed Mahmood of the Royal Endurance Team ride Naima to take the lead at the end of the first stage in one hour, 12 minutes and 48 seconds.

Behind him was Shaikh Nasser (1:13:25) in second place and Qadoori (1:13:53) third.

However, Shaikh Nasser came from behind in the second stage which ended in his favour in 2:15:27 and ahead of Qadoori who went up to second place in 2:15:59 while Mohammed Al Thawadi (2:16:34) of the Royal Endurance Team jumped to third.

Shaikh Nasser maintained his lead in the third stage in 3:08:52, followed by Qadoori (3:12:49) who also remained second while Al Saad (3:16:05) moved up to third.

In the fourth and last stage, there was no stopping Shaikh Nasser who secured the title. The race was followed by the prize-giving ceremony during which Breef general secretary Ghalib Al Alawi and Shaikh Nasser's Media Office director Tawfeeq Salehi honoured the top three riders in the race.

Breef first vice-president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa congratulated Shaikh Nasser on this victory and said this season promises to feature exciting competition among many new talented riders who showed outstanding performance in yesterday's race.
The next event on the federation's calendar will be a 120km National Day Championship scheduled for December 20 at the same venue.

That will be followed by the Open Endurance Championship on January 10 then the Breef Open Women's Championship on January 31, both over 120km.

The next event on the Breef calendar will be a 100km and 160km races on February 7 and this will be followed by the season's most prestigious competition, His Majesty King Hamad Championship in March.

The season's first night race will be held on April 3 and is for the Crown Prince Cup covering a total distance of 120km. It will be followed by the final event of the season - a 100km senior championship in the first week of May which will also be held at night.

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