December 20, 2009
ROYAL Endurance Team rider Jaffar Mirza won the 120-kilometre National Day Endurance Ride Championship yesterday at the Bahrain International Endurance Village in Sakhir.
Riding Mexico, Mirza outlasted the 46 other participants who competed in the gruelling five-stage seniors race. Mirza clocked a winning time of five hours 38 minutes 27 seconds.
The event was organised by the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) in celebration of the kingdom's National Day and the 10th anniversary of His Majesty King Hamad's accession to the throne.
Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Breef president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa also took part in the ride, but both Royal Endurance Team stars were forced to pull out after the fourth stage due to injuries to their respective horses. Shaikh Nasser was riding The Destroyer while Shaikh Khalid was astride LM Bikosam.
The championship was also attended by National Guard chief Major General Shaikh Mohammed bin Isa Al Khalifa.
The seniors race saw strong competition as the riders not only had to fight against fatigue but also to tackle the difficult terrain which had been hugely affected by heavy rainfall in Bahrain in the past week.
After the race was flagged off at 6am, Mirza set the early pace and was among the leading bunch at the end of the first 30km stage which he completed in 1:19:11.
He continued his steady stride through the 30km second stage, the 25km third and the 20km penultimate leg, at the end of which he fell to third place behind new leader and fellow-Bahraini Durg Singh Bhanwar and Indian Sang Singh Bhati.
But a determined showing in the final 15km stage helped him finish strong and steal victory. He completed the last leg in 42 minutes 30 seconds - nearly 10 minutes faster than anyone else.
Bhanwar was left to settle for the runner-up spot as he finished the race with a total time of 5:45:00, which was close to eight minutes behind Mirza. Bhati was not far behind in third in 5:45:30.
Saudi Arabia's Fayez Al Turkomani finished fourth in 5:57:58 on his horse Dodge. Abdulrahman Al Zaeed, another Royal Endurance Team rider, finished fifth overall on Blythswood Akabar in 6:14:36.
Meanwhile, Al Muqheerat Stable's Nasser Ahmed Awad, riding Al Fahd, won the juniors ride in 6:03:55. Royal Endurance Team's Ahmed Adel Al Gaoud on Jassem was the runner-up in 6:20:40, while Abdulla Hilal Al Khatri on Faras Kaoma from Al Asayel Stable came third in 6:38:59.
Click here for photos by Osama Mohammed