Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Saudi Arabia: Latifa wins second spot in Women's Endurance

(MENAFN - Arab News) Latifa Al-Sheikh of Kingdom Equestrian Team, sponsored by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, won the second place in the Women's Endurance Championship held in Dubai on Friday.

Forty-three women jockeys from the UAE, GCC and Arab world participated in the 90km challenge. Sheikh Saeed bin Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum awarded the prizes to the top three. Sheikha Asma Al-Gasmi won the event, followed by Latifa and Shamsa Al-Mutawa in that order.

Prince Alwaleed commented: "This victory is another achievement for the Saudi women in sports."

Latifa and her horse Kularu Jubal completed the course in 3:14:22, just four minutes off the winning time of Sheikha Asma.

"This achievement is with God's blessing and Prince Alwaleed's continuous support to the team and its members. I am delighted with this achievement and had traveled from Saudi Arabia confident of winning this race," she said. It was her second race in the UAE. She had also finished second in the previous race in Abu Dhabi that was won by the Spanish world champion rider Mariah Mercedes.

Latifa also thanked Sheikh Hamdan, deputy ruler of Dubai and the minister of finance and industry of the UAE, for his support for the special race for women jockeys.

She also thanked Najeeb Al-Barjes, Kingdom team manager and trainer, and other trainers, Matar and Abullah Khamees.

Latifa, who began riding at a very young age and participated in various other championships - including three in Bahrain and Qatar, said excellent weather conditions and the relatively small number of participants helped achieve high speeds in the race.

Kingdom team's series of achievements include Abdulrahman Al-Hawas winning the Al-Khalediah Prince Khaled's Cup Endurance Challenge 2009. In 2008, the team won the Alwafa International Championship Cup held in Damascus, Syria, and Saudi show jumper Khaled Al-Eid earned the highest points in the final Arab League qualifying for the World Cup Championship.

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