Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bahrain: Top riders set for His Majesty race

ROYAL Jordanian Equestrian Federation president Princess Alia bint Al Hussein arrived in Bahrain last night to attend His Majesty King Hamad's Endurance Horseride Championship scheduled for tomorrow at 6am at the Bahrain International Endurance Village in Sakhir.

Princess Alia was welcomed by Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation's (Breef) second vice-president Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa and other federation officials.

Princess Alia thanked Breef, especially its president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, for inviting her to witness this prestigious event which is the biggest endurance horseride competition on the federation's calendar.

Shaikh Khalid also welcomed the chief guest who attended last year's event too. He thanked the Jordanian federation for sending its finest riders to Bahrain to compete in the race.

Meanwhile, Dubai Crown Prince Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum is due to reach the Kingdom today to lead prominent UAE riders in the championship.

The 26-year-old Shaikh Hamdan, son of UAE Vice-President and Ruler of Dubai Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is one of top riders in the region and a strong contender for a place on the podium tomorrow.

Shaikh Hamdan, who won the gold medal in equestrian at the 15th Asian Games in Doha three years ago, will be accompanied by compatriots Salem bin Ghadir, Khalifa bin Jalayta and Abdulla Al Buziri who will all take part in the 120-km senior race.

The championship will also feature a junior race over the same distance. UAE riders to compete in the junior race are Ali Al Mirri, Khalifa Al Mirri and Abdulla Al Mirri.

A six-member Royal Jordanian team will only take part in the senior race. The team members are Jehad Shehaltog, Abdulhamid Al Saleh, Sobhi Khalil, Farah Abu Na'amea, Atalla Hamad and Lawrence Al Fayez.

Kuwait will be represented in the championship by two riders - Abdulla Al Eibani and Turki Al Mutairi.

Both the senior and junior races will be divided into five equal stages. The senior race will kick off at 6am while the junior race will commence 30 minutes later.

The first two stages will be over 30 kms while the next three are over 25, 20 and 15 kms each.

Veterinary examination is scheduled for today from 3pm to 5.30pm.

The event, sponsored by Marsa Al Seef, follows the remarkable achievement of Breef president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa who finished second overall in the first-ever Endurance Grand Prix series which concluded in Dubai a few weeks ago.

The championship was originally due to take place last Saturday, but was postponed to give all stables and riders the opportunity to prepare for this prestigious event.

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