Saturday, June 05, 2010

Malaysia: Enduring Passion

Thestar.com.my
June 5, 2010

AS a teenager, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin was active in various sports and activities like football, golf, taekwondo, scuba diving and horseback riding.

A taekwondo exponent, he has been patron of the Malaysian Global Taekwondo Federation (MGTF) since 1990. His active participation in the sport is acknowledged with an honorary award of the 7th Degree Black Belt given to him by the Global Taekwondo Federation (GTF).

Due to his involvement in this sport, Malaysia organised the World Taekwondo Championship in Kuala Terengganu in 1994, with participation from 88 countries.

Tuanku Mizan’s recent recreational and sports focus is horseback riding, particularly in the discipline of endurance. He has actively taken part in endurance riding competitions conducted both locally and abroad.

In 2004, he placed fourth at the 105km Johor Endurance Championship and was third at the 105km Kelantan Royal Jubilee Endurance Ride.

In the same year, he won the Wilga 80km Endurance Ride in Wilga, Australia.

In 2005, he represented Malaysia at the 160km Endurance Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and also emerged winner of the 90km Harris Ride Championship in Perth, Australia.

In 2007, he came in second at the International Endurance Ride Championship in Qatar.

Last October, Tuanku Mizan was among 97 local and foreign riders who rode off in the Pahang-PENN Endurance Challenge 2009 at the Pahang International Endurance Park in Cherating.

The King, representing the Royal Terengganu Endurance Stable (RTES), rode out for the 100km race astride his horse Tarjari Moonlight Pharoah. His two children, Tengku Muhammad Ismail and Tengku Nadhirah Zaharah, also took part in the race.

However, Tuanku Mizan could not complete the race as his horse fell ill during the event. The year before, he was champion of the same category in the challenge.

Besides being an active participant, Tuanku Mizan has played a vital role in promoting the sport in Malaysia and putting the country on the international equestrian tournament map.

Since 2002, the King has been instrumental in getting the country ready for equestrian tournaments.

He personally went to France in 2005 with the Equestrian Association of Malaysia (EAM) to bid for the Endurance Championship to be held in Malaysia.

In 2008, Malaysia successfully hosted for the first time the Federation Equestre Internationale (FIE) World Endurance Championship at Lembah Bidong, Terengganu. The championship featured 140 riders from 34 countries and Tuanku Mizan led the 12-member Malaysian team.

In 2005, Tuanku Mizan also pioneered the Royal Terengganu Endurance Stable (RTES), aimed at training horseback riding for participation in endurance competitions at national and international levels.

Since its inception, RTES has taken part in many championships in Malaysia and abroad.

In 2006, three riders from RTES represented Malaysia at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Aachen, Germany.

Tuanku Mizan also played a strong role in establishing the Sultan’s Cup Terengganu Endurance Race in 2006 as an effort to promote sports tourism in the state.

He also initiated the endurance team at the Selangor Turf Club’s Equestrian and Sports Centre.