Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bahrain: Stage set for new endurance season

Gulf Daily News

PREPARATIONS are in full swing for Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa Ride, the inaugural event of the 2011/12 endurance horseride season, scheduled for Saturday.

The first event of the season, which is for the Breef President Cup, will feature two races set to take place at the Bahrain International Endurance Village in Sakhir.

The main race will be over 100km and gets underway at 6am, while an additional qualifying ride will begin at 6.15am and cover a total distance of 80km. They will be followed by the awarding ceremony at 1pm.

Some of the kingdom's best riders are expected to take part in the rides, promising to feature exciting and gruelling competitions among the participants.

However, favourites the Royal Endurance Team decided not to take part in this weekend's ride, following a decision from team leader Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

Shaikh Nasser, the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman and president of the Bahrain Olympic Committee, said the decision was to give the opportunity to more stables to participate.

He expressed delight as the new season approaches with more riders expected to submit their entries for the opening event.

The Royal Endurance Team captain said the race will be mainly open to public stables interested in taking part, and wished them success.

Shaikh Nasser highlighted the continued support from His Majesty King Hamad to equestrian and endurance activities in Bahrain, which has contributed to the significant development of both disciplines.

He also lauded the efforts of the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef), under the presidency of Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, in preparing for the season's opener.

Shaikh Nasser, meanwhile, approved the distances of the stages for both races as well as other issues.

The 100km ride has been divided into four stages, including 30km each for the first and second stages. The third will be over 25km while the fourth is over 15km.

In the 80km qualifying ride, participants will battle over three stages and they are 30km for the first, another 30km for the second and 25km for the third.

The organising committee also named the ground jury for the ride. It's being headed by Abdulghani Al Boosta. Other members are Ghalib Al Alawi, Ali Hussain, Mahdi Al Kalaiti and Fahad Al Romaihi.

The technical delegate is Mohammed Dadulla, while Haider Zubi and Abdulla Al Rumaihi are the stewards.

Dr Abbas Al Haiki was appointed president of he veterinary commission, with Dr Mohammed Al Hammad being the foreign veterinary.

Other veterinarians are Dr Fareeda Abdulrazak, Dr Ebrahim Yousif, Dr Sabah Al Kabie, Dr Abu Obaidah Yaqoob and Dr Abdelrahman Abu Shook, all of Bahrain.

The treating veterinarian at the event is Dr Caonabo Melo of the Dominican Republic.

Following this weekend's ride, the federation will then prepare to organise the National Day Ride on December 24. It will be followed by the Heavy Weight Challenge on January 7, next year.

His Majesty the King's Cup ride, the main event of the endurance season, will then take place on February 4, to be followed by Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa Ride on February 18.

The Breef Championship is scheduled for March 2, and then His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Cup night ride will be held on April 6. The End of the Season Ride will then be held on April 5.

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