UAE, WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONS
|The UAE won the Team Gold in the 12th FEI World Endurance Championship held on November 7 and 8, 2008, at Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. This is the first time the UAE is winning a Team Gold in the World Championship.
Spain's Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton bagged the individual title riding Nobby in a timing of 8:48:06, and the UAE had to be content with bronze in this category with Sultan Ahmed Sultan bin Sulayem finishing in the third place, riding Spenda Crest Kampouflage in a timing of 9:09:31
The four-member UAE team which won the Team Gold in the 160-km grueling ride comprised Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Mohammed Ahmad al Subose, Mubarak Khalifa bin Shafya and Abdullah Thani bin Huzaim. Earlier Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, had to take a critical decision of opting out of the team competitions keeping the welfare and health of his horse Jazyk in mind and decided to pursue the individual title. However unfortunately his horse was eliminated at the beginning of the fourth lop and he had to make an exit.
The UAE had been aiming for the Team Gold ever since the World Endurance Championship was instituted and it is indeed laudable considering this was the first time a world championship was held in the evening and continued till the following morning. Added to this were the heavy downpour and the dark and tough terrain.
Sheikh Hamdan declared: "We dedicate this win to our President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and to His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai."
"This victory has come purely to a team effort while our riders once again displayed high qualities of horsemanship in winning against some of the best endurance teams of the world," he said. "I would like to describe it in Sheikh Majid's words: 'We did not wait for luck to come to us. We went and grabbed the gold medal," said Sheikh Hamdan, adding that the win came in very tough and trying conditions.
On the other hand Maria, the individual world endurance championship, stated that if she is a world champion today in endurance riding, she owes all her success to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his continuous support. "He gave us everything and allowed us to ride in competitions." She also said that riding with the best UAE riders during the season too helped her in winning this championship.
Sheikh Mohammed honoured:
The King of Malaysia Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abideen bin Al Marhum Sultan Mahmou awarded His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum with the title " Godfather of the World Endurance Championship" for his support and contribution to the sport. The king, who is also the Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of the WEC, granted the title so Sheikh Mohammed on behalf of all the participants in the ride. Sheikh Hamdan accepted the award on behalf of his father.
1. UAE, Time: 28:47:17
2. Qatar: 28:47:17
3. Bahrain: 30:55:34
1. Maria Alvarez Ponton, Spain, Nobby, 8hrs 58mins 06 secs
2. Augustin Vita, Argentina, Barakah Ibn Al Tamah, 9:07.55;
3. Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, UAE, Tazoul El Parry, 9:19.31
4. Sheikh Majid bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE, Spenda Crest Kamouflage, 9:24.42;
5. Mohammad Ahmad Ali Subose, UAE, Koum Des Jamets, 9:31.38;
6. Mubarak Khalifa bin Shafya, UAE, Zakah Zahara, 9:31:39
7. Abdullah Thani bin Huzain, UAE, Zakash Zahara, 9:31:40
8. Rachel Jamoutte, Belgium, Rukban Dilkruhu, 9:32:18
9. Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Bahrain, Basic Instinct, 9:32:28
10. Atta Mohammed Beer, Qatar, Epson De La Bruiskaie, 9:34:38