Thursday, March 28, 2013

Qatar: Big show: Aiming high - Full Article

28 March 2013
By Isabel Ovalle

Qatar is currently hosting the first international equestrian competition to be held in the Middle East and Asia. The venue is Al Shaqab, which boasts 980,000 square metres of world-class facilities inside Qatar Foundation’s Education City.
The organisers expect 10,000 spectators to attend over the four days of the event, with special attendance by members of the ruling family and other guests of honour from the GCC states.

CHI (Concours Hippique International — International Equestrian Competition) is the official title given by the FEI (International Equestrian Federation) to international equestrian competitions with three or more equine disciplines, like the one taking place in Doha.

“Many prestigious equestrian events have taken place in the Gulf countries; however, this combination of disciplines hasn’t been done before,” said Dr Andras Tatar, Venue Director at Al Shaqab.

The event, which began yesterday, will conclude on March 30 with participation by the best riders in the FEI ranking.
The city will host at least three more events like this, which will serve as tests for Doha and Al Shaqab, which ultimately aims to host the World Equestrian Games in 2022.

Al Shaqab wants to use the opportunity to the full.

“We are about to develop the facility to be multifunctional. We have control rooms to run three different disciplines at the same time, with the outdoor area destined for showjumping and the indoor area for dressage,” said Dr Tatar, who has been working at Al Shaqab for over five years.

Al Shaqab has three major areas, and a fourth one will be the arena and events area. The others are a zone dedicated to breeding and one for endurance, both focusing on Arabian horses, and the riding academy. The institution is developing programmes to build dressage teams and at present has competing teams only in endurance. The academy has 1,156 members — half of them expatriates of various nationalities and the rest Qataris, said the venue director...

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