Tuesday, November 04, 2008

[WEC Reports] Amaya buoyant on Uruguay's chances

The New Straits Times Online
By : Ajitpal Singh

photo: Amaya kisses his beloved horse Ar Vale after a training session in Lembah Bidong yesterday. — Pic: IMRAN MAKHZAN

URUGUAY believe it will be their year to be crowned world champions in both the individual and team events at the 12th FEI World Endurance Championships (WEC) which starts tomorrow at the Terengganu International Endurance Park (TIEP) in Lembah Bidong, Setiu.
But their fortunes will depend on World No 2 Juan Miguel Pio Olascoaga Amaya, the highest ranked rider in this competition.

For the record, Uruguay have never won a title in the WEC, which incepted in 1986.

Amaya, 28, a winner of two 160-km titles this year, said he and his teammates have the experience to wrest the title from hot favourites the United Arab Emirates and France.

"We have been training hard and our horses have adapted well to the humidity. We like the track as it's flat and soft.
"I hope to compete both in the individual and team events for Uruguay," said Amaya at the TIEP in Setiu yesterday.

"As the top seed in the individual event, the pressure will be on me to perform. My strategy on race day is to get a head start and maintain my speed throughout. I need to opt for this strategy as my main rivals will be doing the same."

At the WEC, Amaya will be riding his trusted eight-year-old horse Ar Vale which he has been riding for the past seven months.

The others in the Uruguay squad are Adriana Basso MacGregor, who will be riding Ed Virka, Flavia Maria Danvila (Count Spot), Sofia Maria Danvila (Nortea), Juan Cruz Aranda (Espartaco In) and Isadora Mackinnon (Guarda Costa). Their coach is Amaya's father, Pio Olascoaga Silveira.

Unlike in previous editions, the WEC in Terengganu will start tomorrow evening after the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) had taken into account the humid conditions in Terengganu.

The 133 riders will have to complete 160km in 13 hours and 20 minutes. The race will be broken into seven loops or phases.

Amaya also described the facilities, including the stables, at the TIEP as world class.

"The TIEP offers the best facilities for riders and horses. I have raced in may courses and I must say, this course has the best stables and track."

Posted By Steph Teeter to WEC Reports at 11/05/2008 02:25:00 AM

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