September 8 2011
SHAIKH Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa will be among the leading Bahraini riders in the FEI 2011 European Open Endurance Horseride Championship in Florac, France.
This highly anticipated 160km event, sponsored by the Bahrain Royal Endurance Team, is set to take place on Saturday at Florac Endurance Village with some of the continent's top riders in the fray.
The Bahrain team, who arrived at the endurance village earlier this week, continued their preparations for the upcoming event, organised by Lozre Endurance Equestre.
The Florac 160km Championship follows trails through the mountainous region of the CŽzannes National Park in Central Southern France.
Shaikh Nasser, the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and chief of the Bahrain Olympic Committee, said the team hopes to maintain their recent impressive run in the European competitions this year.
He said the team had a successful participation in previous endurance rides in Europe earlier in the summer. Among those achievements was a second-place finish in Germany and later in France.
Shaikh Nasser also highlighted the outstanding achievement of team member Salman Isa, who clinched the eight-year-old category title during last month's FEI World Championship at Compiegne, in France.
The programme of the European Championship begins today with a several meeting by the organising committee, to be followed by the veterinary examination tomorrow in the National Park of the CŽzannes.
The race will then take place the following day from 4.30am, while the prize-giving ceremony is scheduled for Sunday.
Spanish champion Maria Alvarez Ponton will defend her title on Nobby and join the riders at the start of the race.
The programme for the European Championship is being supported in total by the Lozere Tourism Department where the ride will be held.
Out of 230 demands of participation, only 171 representing 18 nations could be honoured by Lozre Endurance Equestre. This is an absolute record of contestants on a competition of this type, but this shows as well a strong will of the European nations for a return back to the origins of the discipline.
For this challenge imposed by the FEI in order to assign definitely this championship to Florac, Lozre Endurance Equestre had designed specially for this championship a trail in one big loop.
The trial respects the traditional values endurance: stamina, horsemanship, sports ethic, respect for the horse's physical well being and morale.
Florac organised the first Continental Endurance Championship in 1984 and the 2011 teams are assembling with 142 listed riders and reserve participants from 20 countries.
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