November 21, 2012
BAHRAIN's Royal Endurance Team celebrated a three-way podium yesterday when team captain Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa retained the cup in the second Bahrain and Morocco Endurance Horse Ride Championship.
The 2010 edition champion was in superb form to win the title for the second successive time after a dominant show in this 120-km ride, staged at Dar Es Salam Forest in Rabat, in Morocco.
Jointly organised by the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation and the Moroccan Equestrian Federation, the race featured an exciting battle among participants.
Prominent riders from France, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Morocco and Tunisia were also in the fray. They included Sabrina Arnold of Germany, Belgian Wendy Fallon, besides Lisa Keyes and Silvia Yebra of France.
They competed over five challenging stages, including 30km each for the first and second.
This was followed by 20km for the third, 25km for the fourth and 15 for the fifth and final stage.
And it was Shaikh Nasser who came out victorious, completing all five stages with a total ride time of five hours, 49 minutes and 50 seconds, and with a 20km average speed.
He was followed by runner-up Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa (5:49:51), the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation president, with an average speed of 20km per hour.
Khalifa Al Dossary (5:49:52) then rounded off the podium for the Royal Team by coming third, also with a similar average speed of 20km per hour.
The race was attended by His Majesty King Hamad, who honoured the top three winners at the awarding ceremony later yesterday.
On the occasion, Shaikh Nasser said he was honoured by His Majesty's presence at the race venue, which was the biggest motive for him and other team members to excel.
Shaikh Nasser said the race was one of the toughest with several prominent European riders seeking podium.
He said that holding the second race in Morocco reflected the values of sincere co-operation bonding Bahrain and Morocco, in line with the sound directives of His Majesty King Hamad and the Moroccan Monarch King Mohammed VI.
On his part, Shaikh Khalid said the participants had shifted positions on several occasions during the race, which underlines the competitive environment and excitement that the event had seen yesterday.
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