Posted on » Sunday, August 26, 2012
BAHRAIN'S Royal Endurance Team yesterday endured a heart-breaking experience at the FEI World Endurance Horse Ride Championships 2012 at Euston Park near Thetford in the UK.
The Bahraini team made a disheartening start as team captain Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and team member Ahmed Abdulla were out by the first stage.
Shaikh Nasser, the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman and president of the Bahrain Olympic Committee, had to withdraw from the race after his horse Picaflor was injured and failed to pass the veterinary examination at check point.
On the other hand, Abdulla, another prominent Bahraini rider, was injured during the first stage of the championship while Yaqoub Al Hammadi and Abdulrahman Al Saad were also out after the third and fourth stages, respectively.
This left the squad with only three members - Al Khalidiya Stable skipper Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Jaffer Mirza and Abdulrahman Al Zayed - which ended their chances of a podium finish in the team category.
The race started with the six-member Bahraini team lined up with some of the world's best endurance riders competing over six stages.
There were 153 men and women riders from 44 countries competing in the championship.
Participants came from Finland, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Australia, Austria, Belgium,Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Algeria, Argentina, the US, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden Switzerland, Holland, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway and Uruguay.
The ride, which was over 160 kms, featured 38 kms for the first stage, followed by 29 kms for the second. The third stage was over 30 kms, the fourth covered 20 kms, 23 kms for the fifth while the sixth and concluding stage was over 20 kms.
Shaikh Nasser's squad came to the UK hoping to win a podium finish after a two-month training camp in Europe, where they had participated in several endurance rides.
Meanwhile, UAE's Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum picked up what seemed to be a well-deserved victory in the singles event on Madji Du Pont.
Shaikh Mohammed completed the sixth and final stage on top in 43 minutes and 29 seconds, with a 22-km per hour average speed.
The UAE riders stamped authority as Shaikh Rashid bin Dalmook Al Maktoum and Ali Al Jahouri were second and third, respectively.
Shaikh Mohammed, the Prime Minister and Vice-President of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, also led his squad to retain the world team title for the third time in succession.
The remaining members of the UAE team were Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and Shaikh Majid bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, sons of Shaikh Mohammed, and Ahmad Belqaizi.
Shaikh Nasser, along with Shaikh Khalid and other Bahrain riders, congratulated Shaikh Mohammed as well as other members of the UAE team on their double victory following the awarding ceremony.
His Majesty King Hamad late last night send a cable congratulating Shaikh Mohammed on winning the FIA World Endurance Horse Ride Championship.
His Majesty also congratulated the UAE team for retaining the team title for the third time in succession.
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