November 08, 2008 17:06 PM
By Hilary Sebastian
SETIU, Nov 8 (Bernama) -- Spain's Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton astride Nobby not only overcame thunderstorms and pitch darkness but also her male challengers to win the FEI World Endurance Championship 2008 individual title, while the UAE clinched the team title at the Terengganu International Endurance Park (TIEP) in Lembah Bidong, Setiu, Saturday.
Maria's win underlined Spain's supremacy in world endurance races as it was their second victory in the individual category in the prestigious championship after Miguel Villa Ubach won the title in 2006 in Aachen, Germany.
The Spanish rider led from start to finish with the exception of the second loop where she came in second behind Argentinas Agustin Vita to complete the 160km race in a time of 8 hours 48 minutes and 06 seconds.
Her win also maintained women's dominance in the World Endurance Championship as she became the 10th women to win the individual title out of 12 editions, since 1986.
Apart from Ubach in 2006 the only other time men won the title was in 2002 when Spain hosted the championship. Ahmed Al Maktoum of the UAE won it then.
Vita went on to clinch second place with a time of 857:55s while UAEs Sultan Ahmed Sultan Sulayem clocked 909:31s to take third place.
Maria who started the 160km race at 5.30pm yesterday together with 126 other riders who competed in the individual and team events, completed the final loop (loop 7) at 7.18am this morning as the first rider while the last rider came into the final check point at 11.40am.
In the team event, middle east countries UAE, Qatar and Bahrain made a clean sweep of the top three places while defending champion France were relegated to 9th spot as Portugal, Spain, Italy, Canada and Argentina finished ahead of them.
The total times recorded by UAEs three team members, 27 hours 57 minutes 59 seconds gave them the team title ahead of Qatar who finished with a time of 2847:17s for second place while Bahrain snatched third place from Portugal with a time of 3055:34s.
The grueling race that was flagged off at 5.30pm yesterday with 126 riders saw only 50 riders complete the race while 76 were eliminated for various health reasons to horses or the riders.
By the first loop, 21 riders had been eliminated and another 10 saw the exit in the second loop, 15 after the third loop, 13 more were eliminated in the fourth loop while the fifth, sixth and seventh loops saw ten, four and three riders disqualified respectively.
The prize giving ceremony would be held tomorrow at TIEP.
1. Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton & Nobby (Spain)
2. Agustin Vita Agustin & Baraka Ibn Tamah (Argentina) 08:57:55s
3. Sultan Ahmed Sultan Sulayem & Tazoul El Parry (UAE) 09:09:31s
4. Shaikh Majid Mohd Al Maktoum & Spenda Crest Kamouflage (UAE) 09:14:42s
5. Mohd Ahmad Ali Subose & Koum Des Jamets (UAE) 09:21:38s
6. Mubarak Khalifa Shafya & Zakah Zahara (UAE) 09:21:39s
7. Abdulla Thani Huzaim & Caslebar Kadeen (UAE) 09:21:40s
8. Rachel Jaumotte & Rukban Dikruhu (BEL) 09:32:18s
9. Shaikh Nasser Hamad Al Khalifa (BHR) 09:33:28s
10. Atta Mohammed Beer (OTR) 09:34:38s
1. UAE 27:57:59S
2. Qatar 28:47:17s
3. Bahrain 30:55:34s
4. Portugal 30:58:52s
5. Spain 31:25:24s
6. Italy 34:31:37s
7. Canada 38:25:45s
Posted By Steph Teeter to WEC Reports at 11/08/2008 01:36:00 PM
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