The New Straits Times Online
The race is literally heating up. With the 12th edition of the World Endurance Championship at Terengganu International Endurance Park in Lembah Bidong kicking off Thursday, heat and humidity are being cited as 'fear factors' by some of the participants.
Even veteran Australian Margaret Wade, who is currently ranked sixth in the world, is struggling with the tropical heat astride China Doll, as she trains in preparation for the competition which is being held in Malaysia for the first time.
A first-timer in this part of the world, the 47-year-old said that it is much hotter and more humid here than in Australia, but after almost two weeks of acclimatising, she and her horse are coping a little better.
She said it was not often that she had to ride throughout the night in previous competitions, and it would take a while for her and China Doll to adjust to the new riding environment.
But Wade, one of six members in Team Australia, said it was all part and parcel of the game and after being in the circle for more than 20 years, she knows what it takes to attain success.
For now, she said that training comprises just four hours on the back of her horse in the morning and a walking session in the afternoon to develop fitness and to get to know the area better.
As for her target in the tournament, she said it would be nice to walk away with the champion's trophy, but she would settle for the best possible finish due to the presence of other world-calss endurance riders.
Her teammate, George Matthew, 40, is equally optimistic of his chances, as he said he and his team members had prepared well for the tournament.
He said one other reason for his confidence is his horse, Brookleigh Ricardo, which has been undefeated in the past two years.
Matthew added that he hoped the nine-year-old Arabian stallion could do it again here in Lembah Bidong, but hopes that there would not be a heavy downpour on race night.
Posted By Steph Teeter to WEC Reports at 11/04/2008 04:40:00 PM
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