The New Straits Times Online
MUHD Firdaus Hamid's first experience with horses was on a pony when he was just nine years old.
Today, at 15, Firdaus is preparing for the biggest race of his career at the FEI (WEC) at the Terengganu International Endurance Park (TIEP), Setiu, starting tomorrow. The Kuala Terengganu-born rider is the youngest Malaysian competitor in the event.
"My involvement began when I was just nine. Picking up the sport is easy in Terengganu, especially those living in villages as farmers keep horses," said Firdaus, a student with SMK Tengku Bariah in Kuala Terengganu, yesterday.
"My first ride was on a pony owned by my father's friend. My love for horses grew but I ventured into show-jumping first before deciding to make a switch to endurance early this year.
"I was competing in a show-jumping event in Ipoh, Perak last year when another rider told me that I was more suited for endurance. I decided to try it and have not looked back since."
Firdaus made an immediate impact on his maiden endurance competition in Uruguay in June, where he earned his first Certificates of Capability (CoC).
A month later he earned his second CoC, also in Uruguay, and made the cut for the world meet.
"I was not expecting to make an immediate impact. The WEC will only be my fourth 160km race. It's going to be tough but I hope to complete the race and earn a good position," he added.
Meanwhile, a host of local artistes will be performing at the opening of the WEC at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu today.
Among those performing are Mawi, Jamal Abdillah, Ramli Sarip and local rock queen Ella.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, who is also competing in the WEC, will officially open the event.
-- AJITPAL SINGH
Posted By Steph Teeter to WEC Reports at 11/05/2008 02:16:00 AM
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