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SPORT & LEISURE - SHOW-JUMPING

Sheikha Latifa favourite again to win U.A.E. a medal
posted on 28/09/2014

The U.A.E.'s quest for medals at the Incheon Asian Games continues when the strong equestrian team of five members, led from the front by Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum, begin battle at the Dream Park equestrian venue on September 28 and 30. Action will begin at 9am and conclude at 1pm (U.A.E. time which is five hours behind standard Korean time) on the Day 1.
Later in the afternoon, the whole side will be in action between 1pm and 3.30pm while on September 30, the top 40 riders from Day 1 will be in action in Round One of the jumping competition. The pool of top riders will eventually be trimmed down to 25 riders later in the afternoon on Day 2. Apart from athletics and shooting, equestrian events provide the country with the best chance of a medal from the 13 disciplines the U.A.E. are participating in the 17thchapter of the Asian Games in faraway Incheon. Apart from Sheikha Latifa, the other members of the U.A.E. equestrian side for the individual and team competitions are Abdullah Al Marri, Mohammad Al Owais, Muftah Al Daheri and Abdullah Al Muhairi.
There is pedigree in the U.A.E. squad having proven themselves right from the days when the Asian Games was held in Doha eight years ago. Several training camps abroad and specialised programmes were seen through by all the five members for the past year. At the 2010 Guangzhou Asiad, Sheikha Latifa won the individual jumping silver and gained another silver finish in the team competition for yet another wonderful show in the continent.
The Netherlands, France, Germany and Austria were the venues for the many training camps the side attended and sometimes each camp took nearly four months of sheer hard work before the U.A.E. side returned home to be back with their close ones here. In Guangzhou, Sheikha Latifa, riding Kalaska De Semily, her favourite 1998-born stallion, jumped two impeccable rounds with no penalty points, newspaper reports mentioned. She challenged the Saudi Arabian riders Prince Khalid Abdul Aziz Al Eid and Ramzi Hamad Al Duhaimi in the jump-offs to decide the final medallists where she went through the 10-hurdle course without knocking off any hurdle, the same as Al Duhaimi.
Al Duhami won gold as he completed the course in 48.53secs, just 0.15secs faster than the U.A.E. star's 48.68secs. Sheikha Latifa had successfully led the country in clinching the silver in the jumping team event a day earlier, again in partnership with Kalaska. The U.A.E. members then were Sheikha on Kalaska, Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum on Dubai's Pride, Sheikh Majid Al Qasimi on Co-Jack and Ahmed Al Junaibi on P. Wodeina.
Long-time secretary general of the U.A.E. Equestrian Federation Taleb Dhaher Al Muhairi, who is in Incheon trying to coordinate the practice and other requirements of the side told media soon after the first medal in China: "I am at a loss of words to express my happiness over this tremendous achievement by Sheikha Latifa. She put up a brave show and fought for her silver with world-class jumpers. Our efforts have borne fruits.”
On the chances this time in the Incheon show he said: "We are definitely up there again among the top. Sheikha Latifa's wonderful performances over the past six years have raised the profile of equestrian sports that had often taken a backseat to the U.A.E.'s global success in endurance racing.
When just 18, Sheikha Latifa got a taste of triumph on the national level as early as 2003 when she won the U.A.E. Showjumping Championship in Abu Dhabi. She got to shine on the international stage three years later when she flew to participate in the 2006 Asian Games in Qatar as a member of the U.A.E. team.
She admitted at the time that she had no expectations from that trip except that it was a chance for her to get some international exposure. To everyone's surprise the ‘Royal Lady of the Moment in Equestrian Sports in the U.A.E.', Sheikha Latifa and her team left Doha with a bronze medal in their baggage. – Khaleej Times -
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/asiangames/2014/September/asiangames_September43.xml§ion=asiangames

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Latifa to lead U.A.E. charge
posted on 16/09/2014

The U.A.E. equestrian squad is determined to better their performance at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games in Incheon — and have been training hard in a number of overseas camps during the summer.
Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum led from the front, winning the individual jumping silver and the second place in the team competition the next day as the country came up with its best performance in equestrian at an Asian Games.
In Incheon, all equestrian competitions will be held at the Dream Park Equestrian Venue and the U.A.E. squad of five riders will be in action on September 28 and 30. Sheikha Latifa will lead the country's challenge in the individual and team competitions along with Abdullah Al Marri, Mohammad Al Owais, Muftah Al Daheri and Abdullah Al Muhairi from 9am to 1pm on the first day.
Later in the afternoon, the entire squad will be involved in the team competition between 1 and 3.30pm. On September 30, the top 40 riders will be in action in Round One of the jumping competition with the group getting trimmed down to 25 riders later in the afternoon.
The squad has been training at various locations in Europe including Holland, France, Germany and Austria, and Talib Al Muhairi, General Secretary, Emirates Equestrian Federation is convinced the team is at its best to put up a strong challenge in Incheon.
"Four months of training is a long time and we've made sure we have not disturbed the set-up of the teams. Each rider has his own style and we have allowed each of them to continue with their respective training schedules in Europe during the summer. This way it is better as each rider will be at his or her peak after landing in Korea,” Al Muhairi told Gulf News.
"No doubt, we returned with medals the last time from China. This time will be no different as we will be better prepared. And there will be no additional pressure on us to return with medals as we are confident in our riders,” he added. - Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/sport/asian-games/latifa-to-lead-uae-charge-1.1385458

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France, U.A.E. have exemplary relations at all levels: Laurent Fabius
posted on 08/09/2014

CAEN, FRANCE: French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius, has described his country's relations with U.A.E. as exemplary and affirmed that the two countries had forged a very strong partnership to implement projects prioritised by the French government.
"France's relations with U.A.E. are exemplary at all levels. France is in continuous contact with the highest ranking U.A.E. officials," Fabius told WAM in an interview in Caen City, north-western France, on the sidelines of a ceremony in which he granted Wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, and president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), the Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, France's highest distinction, on behalf of the French president.
"France developed a very strong, solid and unique partnership with U.A.E. in order to build the Louver Abu Dhabi, a project which is a top priority for the French government. The two countries are cooperating on building the first such international museum since 1875 when the Metropolitan Museum of Art was completed in New York City, U.S.
Mr. Fabius noted that France was among the first countries to back U.A.E.'s bid to host World Expo 2020 in Dubai and that it continues its support to U.A.E.'s efforts and preparations for this global mega event.
"This (honour) is a message of respect, appreciation and admiration. Through granting her its highest honour, France wanted to stress that HRR Princess Haya is an outstanding personality in today's world, due to her career as the head of FEI as well as her humanitarian work in Dubai.
This is (France's) message of friendship to U.A.E. and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as well as an expression of thanks for U.A.E.'s love to horses and for its role in developing the sport around the globe as it became an authority in this sport thanks to its relevant wide experience," said the French Foreign Minister.
Mr. Fabius also noted that the French president and the French Republic have granted HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, "a great friend of France and a great princess and equestrienne", with the National Order of the Legion of Honour in recognition of her contribution to equestrian sports as FEI President.
HRH Princess Haya's honouring ceremony was attended by H.H Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Advisor to the U.A.E. President and President of the U.A.E. Equestrian Federation, Hamad Obaid Al Zaabi, Charge d'Affaires of U.A.E. in France and a group of prominent French and international officials, as well as members of the FEI. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general-emirates-international/1395269330874.html

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U.A.E. exports its equestrian sport experience to big countries: Sultan bin Khalifa
posted on 08/09/2014

CAEN, FRANCE: H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Advisor to the U.A.E. President and President of the U.A.E. Equestrian Federation on Sunday said U.A.E. is exporting its wide experience in equestrian sports to big countries.
H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa, in statements to WAM, expressed the U.A.E. federation's pride in France's honouring of Wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, and President of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) with the insignia of Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, France's highest distinction, in recognition of her contribution to the development of equestrian sport across the world.
"France's honouring of HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein as the President of FEI is a great source of pride for U.A.E. and its equestrian sport and recognises the great role she has played in developing the sport across the world," said H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa .
He noted that U.A.E. Equestrian Federation has made big achievements and HRH Princess Haya has been of great help to the federation in this regard.
"Princess Haya's support for U.A.E. Equestrian Federation has led big countries to approach U.A.E. for tapping its experience in this field. Her support for equestrian activities around the world in the past years and her humanitarian work in U.A.E. received wide appreciation. This is a great achievement for both U.A.E. Equestrian Federation and FEI." Noting that H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai has in late August became the champion of the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy, France, H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa said, "Today, U.A.E. contributes to the development of equestrian sports in several countries using its wide experience. This is a big Arab achievement," he said citing international racing events organised in Dubai, U.A.E. and around the world." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general-emirates/1395269331771.html

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Germany hosts Aseel Arabian Horses Cup
posted on 27/08/2014

Under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the three-day events of the Aseel Purebred Arabian Horses Cup Germany 2014 is scheduled to draw to a close in Kassel, Germany.
The event comes within the keenness of Shaikh Mansour to support and encourage Arabian horse racing in line with the privileged position enjoyed by equestrian sport in the U.A.E..
A special reception was held and attended by Jumaa Al Junaibi, U.A.E. Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, during which he delivered a speech in which he expressed his pleasure with the hosting of the event in Germany to underline the civilised image of the U.A.E. and to promote the noble sport of racing. Al Junaibi reiterated the importance of such a move to preserve the sports of the fathers and grandfathers and communicate with the new generations about their glorious past, deepening the perceptions of the values of originality and national identity.
Al Junaibi praised the support and encouragement of Shaikh Mansour for small breeders and owners worldwide to increase attention to Purebred Arabians and promote the culture and civilisation of the U.A.E..
The events of the Aseel Purebred Arabians Cup included a number of horse riding events mixed with Arab culture. The focus was on the art of horse riding.
Races were held over 36-km, 63-km and 84-km, alongside horse riding, dressage and western styles of riding. The event provided a good opportunity for social communication and included a Purebred Arabian horse show which highlighted handicrafts and arts as well as Salukis, Falcons and Camels.
The events were scheduled to culminate Sunday with the Aseel International Cup 2014. The trophy will be awarded to the winning horse of the show alongside the winners of the mares and stallions categories of the Aseel Cup. Additional prizes will be presented to the outstanding riders in the show, particularly in the saddled horses' show which reveal the unique characteristics and features of the Purebred Arabian horses. The winners in the various categories and competitions will be voted for by international judges.
Meanwhile, the Aseel Club is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its foundation and the 10th anniversary of hosting the Aseel Cup. The occasion will be attended by international guests from Arab and European countries and the USA, as well as celebrities from different parts of the world. The events will be held at the Kassel Park, the historical Castle and Orchards surrounding the Bavarian city, which provide an attractive environment for the public, international guests, sponsors and the attending media. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/horseracing/2014/August/horseracing_August11.xml§ion=horseracing

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Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Showjumping Championship launches
posted on 26/04/2014

The Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Showjumping Championship has launched yesterday in presence of H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President's Representative and Chairman of Emirates Heritage Club, at Al Kahtim City.
More than 150 male and female riders and their horses from equestrian centres and clubs across UAE took part in the first four rounds of the championship.
Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan won the first place in the Arabian thoroughbreds competition followed by Ali Abdullah Al Kumaidi and Aref Ahmed Jasem, in the second and third places respectively.
The two-day event is organised by the Emirates Heritage Club in collaboration with Emirates Equestrian Federation. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Top riders for Al Ain show jumping
posted on 06/02/2014

The competition has drawn the cream of the crop of riders from around the world for the two prestigious prizes and a slice of the €550,000 purse.
The President of the UAE Show Jumping Cup and the International Equestrian Federation's (FEI) Furusiyya Nations Cup promises top fare over four days starting from today until Saturday at the Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting, and Golf Club.
The competition has drawn the cream of the crop of riders from around the world for the two prestigious prizes and a slice of the €550,000 purse. The Nations Cup, the FEI's opening competition for the season in Al Ain, is the single Middle East qualifier for the final at the Real Club de Polo of Barcelona in Spain from October 9 to 12.
The successful riders in the Grand Prix of the UAE President Cup will earn their passage to the FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, from August 23 to September 7. The four-day event is staged under the patronage of Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Advisor to the President and Chairman of the Emirates Equestrian Federation.
Shaikh Sultan said: "As an international venue for equestrian sports, the UAE are well established. We have the experience and the expertise to stage world class competitions. "This competition is a great opportunity for our Emirati riders to pit their skills against a world class field.
"The Emirati riders have regularly participated in international event and enjoyed success too, but this competition provides the participation opportunity for more to gain valuable experience. I wish all the participants success and an enjoyable stay in the Emirates.”
Emaar and Longines are the sponsors of the event organised by the Emirates Equestrian Federation and supported by Abu Dhabi Sports Council will be held under the supervision of the sport's world governing body FEI.
The competition includes the Longines Welcome Stakes, a CSI 2-star competition, the 2-star Abu Dhabi Sports Council Challenge, the CSI 5-star Longines Welcome Challenge, and the Emaar Speed.
The qualifiers for the 2014 Nations Cup season has been reduced and limited to 20 events following the success of the new formula for the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup in 2013. Eight of those qualifiers will be grouped in Europe Division 1 and Europe Division 2, with the North and Central America and Caribbean League now having three qualifiers, including a new event in Mexico from May 7 to 11.
"Following the success of last year's inaugural Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup series and the fantastic final in Barcelona, we are looking forward to another fabulous new season starting in Al Ain,” said John Madden, chairman of the FEI Jumping Committee. . – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/nationsports/2014/February/nationsports_February50.xml§ion=nationsports

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Nadia Taryam crowned champion
posted on 13/01/2014

Emirati rider Nadia Abdul Aziz Taryam emerged champion in the Abu Dhabi International Show Jumping Grand Prix.
Nadia put up a wonderful performance during which she jumped over the barriers displaying stoic tact.
She contested with grace among 32 male and female riders, after two rounds on 13 barrier with heights between 145 and 160 centimetres (3 stars).
Nadia later advanced to qualify in a tougher field with the best of 11 riders.
She outmatched her rivals to clinch the Abu Dhabi International Show Jumping Grand Prix title. She did that in a time of 79:69 seconds.
Ukrainian rider, France Hnzermain won the second place, clocking 82:65 seconds.
The French rider, Fredrik David clinched the third place in a time of 81:16 seconds.
The fourth place was won by a Syrian rider Ahmed Hamsho. Qatari Ahmed Ali Al Attiyah bagged the fifth place, followed by the Saudi rider Prince Abdullah Bin Metaib Al Saud.
Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club crowned Nadia amidst applause from a large Emirati audience.
Mohammed Al Rumaithi also won the award of the middle leg of the tournament organised by the Abu Dhabi Equestrian club on the grassy field, in collaboration with the UAE Equestrian Federation.
The prize value of the championship amounted to Dhs1,125,000 with the participation of 101 riders, representing 19 Arab, American and European countries.
The event was held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, chairman of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club. – The Gulf Today – Read more: http://gulftoday.ae/portal/7a29dc5a-287a-4f61-b1fc-fddb30677c72.aspx

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Al Marri lands showjumping title
posted on 12/05/2013

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was on hand on Friday to witness the inaugural running of the Festival of the Horse, a new equestrian event devised by his daughter, Shaikha Maryam bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
A huge crowd turned out at Emirates Equestrian Centre (EEC) to soak up the festival atmosphere and witness high-class competitions in the separate Olympic disciplines of showjumping, cross country and dressage.
The show, the first of its kind in the UAE, was designed by Shaikha Maryam to pave the way for an annual, international event.
The main showjumping class was won by EEC's Abdullah Al Marri, an international rider, who has competed under the UAE's flag all over the world. Al Marri, riding Alaska, claimed victory over Arif Ahmed on Tjo O Tjim and third-placed Salem Khamis Al Suwaidi on Feline S.
"Honestly it feels like I have just won the first Dubai World Cup,” said Al Marri. "From small beginnings the Dubai World Cup has grown to become one of the most important race days in the world, and this show could follow in the footsteps of that.
"We have started here today and who knows where it will go from here. I want to thank Shaikha Maryam on behalf of all the competitors for the opportunity we have had today.
Tracy Wyngard-Gill, another EEC rider, won the dressage event on Erkan with a score of 70.6 per cent, while Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club's Susanna Foustok and Tristan claimed second with 69.44 per cent. Christina Calin Thompson from Reem Al Abbar Stable was third with 67.69 per cent.
"Dressage is a growing sport in the UAE,” said Wyngard-Gill. "This show, and the exposure that it will bring in the future could really change the path of dressage in this country. The more people that compete at dressage the better and if we get international riders coming into the country that will only help increase the level still further.”
The opening cross country class was won by Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club's Mohammed Al Nakhi on Pikanjo, while the Pony Club showjumping class went to Abigail Mason and Pepsi from EEC.
As part of the Meydan Group, Emirates Equestrian Centre is overseen by Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC), a body which serves to organise and host quality equestrian sports for the people of Dubai and the UAE in the disciplines of endurance, dressage, showjumping and eventing. – Khaleej Times

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Dubai Festival of the Horse showcases showjumping, dressage and cross-country
posted on 09/05/2013

The Dh250,000 Festival of the Horse, a new concept in UAE equine competition, will take place on Friday at Emirates Equestrian Centre (EEC) under the patronage of Sheikha Maryam bint Mohammad Al Maktoum.
This events represents the first time that the separate disciplines of showjumping, cross country and dressage, and young rider classes have been held in one show on the same day in the UAE.
The highest prize money is on offer in cross country (Dh35,000 across two classes) and dressage (Dh55,000 across one class).
The show will also feature a Dh160,000 showjumping class, an exclusive competition for the UAE's best riders.
Commenting on the event, Abdullah Al Merri, a showjumper based at EEC, who has represented the UAE at many international events, said: "All of us train very hard yet some of us are not exposed to every discipline out there because we are all focused on our own sport.
"Personally I am looking forward to being able to see the best of the UAE's dressage and cross country riders in action as we rarely get to see what they can do in competition. And the same goes for them, they will get to see us. It will be great to see them excel at the sport they train so hard for.”
Al Merri added that spectators can expect to see some top riders in the UAE.
"It will be a tough competition,” he said. "We have just had our championships and it will be many of the same riders competing again, so it's really going to be the best of the best in every discipline.”
Visiting youngsters can take advantage of face-painting, a kids' zone, pony rides, and a bouncy castle.
In addition, there will be a free raffle featuring prizes that include televisions, iPads and mobile phones. A live band will further spice up the festival atmosphere.
The competition starts at 4.30pm with the cross country competition, before moving on to Pony Club showjumping at 6pm. The showjumping and dressage in the main arenas both get under way at 6.30pm. – Gulf News

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Taryam a class act as she wins Al Ain Showjumping Champs
posted on 11/02/2013

Sharjah rider Nadia Taryam gave the home crowd something to cheer about in last weekend's Al Ain International Showjumping competition while Saudi Arabia's Abdullah Al Sharbatly secured top spot in the Arab League standings to qualify for the World Cup finals.
Taryam won the 145cm mini Grand Prix class atop Calawo, jumping two clear rounds and clocking 32.95 seconds in round two to win the class a second faster than her closest rival, Ukraine's Ferenc Szentimai, who placed second with Quickdiamond.
The 26-year-old Emirati earned a cheque of Dh28,750 for her winning effort. Michel Hecart completed the podium with Nokia de Brekka and the Frenchman enjoyed an incredible double with another top-three finish, topping the podium in the main Grand Prix on Iman de Deviniere.
His countryman Frederic Davis came second and Saudi Olympic team bronze medallist Sharbatly placed third on Lobster 43, which means he officially qualified to the World Cup finals set to take place in Sweden in April after he finished the Arab League in top spot.
Qatar's Sheikh Ali Al Thani was placed fourth in the Grand Prix and will also join Sharbatly in Sweden after securing second place in the Arab League.
Sharbatly's Olympic team-mate Ramzy Al Duhami was placed for a fourth consecutive Grand Prix in the UAE, placing fifth after Bayard van de Villa Theresia. – Sport 360°

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Sheikha Latifa delight as she returns to winning ways
posted on 04/02/2013

Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum made a triumphant return to the podium at the Emirates Airline Dubai Grand Prix FEI World Cup Qualifier on Saturday, emerging victorious atop Peanuts de Beaufour.
Stepping out last in round two after topping the table in the opening round of the Grand Prix, Sheikha Latifa needed to go clear in less than 51.07 seconds to win the class, and the 27-year-old did just that.
"I'm really happy with the mare because she's come a long way,” said an emotional Sheikha Latifa of nine-year-old Peanuts de Beaufour. "I brought her up since she was five and we went through tough times. And at one point I thought there was no chance I'd be able to ride her.
"So, to actually come and win a Grand Prix here, it's just super. And in Dubai, at home. I'm really happy. She's a super horse, a fantastic horse and when I just ride her well she'll just do everything for me.”
Sheikha Latifa, who was third on the podium 12 months ago, was confident of going faster than Ferenc Szentirmai, who had gone clear on Corenso in 51.07s. The UAE rider eventually went clear in 48.48s to seal victory.
"I knew I could go faster,” said Sheikha Latifa. "With her, she's super-fast. I just only had to keep her balance on the turns and just go.”
Nine riders had progressed to the second round, eight of who were faultless in round one. An eventful round two saw Saudi Arabia's Olympic bronze medallist Prince Abdullah bin Meteb Al Saud go clear on Senorita and two riders later Qatar's Ali Al Rumaihi also went clear, clocking an identical time of 54.67s.
In a bizarre scenario, the pair briefly held joint first place before Ramzy Al Duhami upstaged them with a perfect round in 51.61s. "This happened to me once before in a speed class, clocking the exact same time as someone else. It's very strange,” said Al Rumaihi, who ended up in joint fourth place along with Prince Abdullah.
"I'm pleased with my weekend here in Dubai. The rain and cooler temperatures suited my horse a lot more. It was too hot the first day, which really affected my other horse, Victoria. Ravenna jumped well and I'm looking forward to the next show in Al Ain.”
Mohammed Al Owais, the only other Emirati to make it to the second round, was hoping to replicate his success from his Grand Prix win in Doha earlier this season, but a risky move at the fourth fence meant the 33-year-old was thrown off his horse, Tolita.
"Thank God I am OK,” said Al Owais. "I had a decision to make. Either to just try and go clear and maybe make the podium, or to go with maximum speed and try to win. So I took the decision to try and win and you can see the result.
"Of course the faster you go, the greater the risk. I took a risk and unfortunately it didn't pay off.”
Earlier, the Dh80,500 Longines Accumulator class saw an Emirati sweep after Ahmed Al Juneibi, Rashid Al Rumaithi and Abdullah Al Marri completed the podium. – Sport 360°

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Arab women clear the hurdles to their horse-riding dreams
posted on 30/05/2012

Ayesha Al Khoori talks to some female Arab horse riders whose families were not always supportive of the sport.
When she was a young girl, Salama Al Saadi's family members would laugh about her dream to become a horse rider.
She still sought her mother's permission, to no avail.
"I want to try, but they implanted fear in me," says Al Saadi, now 22.
While the men in her family are allowed to horse ride, Al Saadi's mother believes it is unsafe for girls in particular to engage in the sport.
"It's a culture thing," Al Saadi says.
"But the idea is still on my mind," she says, believing horse riding will instil in her responsibility and confidence. "I'm not losing hope. I still wish to be a horse rider one day."
For 21-year-old Dana Al Mutawa, it wasn't difficult to convince her parents to allow her to ride horses. "Although my father didn't accept the idea for a while, he changed when he observed how devoted I was," she says.
Al Mutawa, who has been riding for seven years now, adds that having male cousins and family friends engaged in the sport has "made it easier for my family to go through the process of acceptance".
While her parents like seeing her active, her father draws the line when it comes to competitive horse-riding events, finding competitions to be time-consuming.
Al Mutawa says this restriction once caused her to briefly withdraw from her family. "But I know they will reconsider it," she says. "And someday they won't pressure me to stop."
Her friends were initially against her hobby, but later on became supportive.
"Through the years many local girls have entered the equine field, so it became a normal phenomenon in our society," she says.
Referring to religious traditions, Al Mutawa argues that whenever she rides horses, she keeps herself fully covered.
"And my brothers accompany me at my racing events," she adds.
Al Mutawa believes perseverance is key to pursuing one's passion: "I've held on to my passion, and kept everything else in my life balanced."
Fatma Al Marri, 18, has been riding for close to a decade. She says everyone in her family was initially against it, until her mother convinced them to be open-minded about it.
"My mother said: 'OK, why not?' and gave me a chance," she says.
Al Marri believes many reject the idea of a female horse rider because they think it's a male-dominated sport that requires power.
This didn't stop Al Marri from emerging as the champion at last year's National Day Cup endurance race, as well as winning eight trophies at various prior events. "Horse riding makes you fit, relieves stress and teaches you to be powerful," she says.
Obaid Ghidyar Al Dhaheri, a 35-year-old equestrian trainer at the Baniyas Equestrian Centre, has been working with both male and female riders for more than two decades. He says horse riding benefits both genders by teaching them not only how to be fit, but also to be proud of themselves and what they can achieve.
"Those who benefit physically and mentally don't want to stop," Al Dhaheri says. He believes there is nothing culturally or religiously wrong with horse riding. "Those who don't know what horse riding is will say anything," he says. "We can't blame them for not knowing."
Al Dhaheri suggests that parents worried about their daughters engaging in the activity should know that private all-female training centres exist. "Horse riding doesn't harm the girl in any way," he says. "On the contrary, it helps her in many ways." – The National

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Majid relishes moment of glory
posted on 24/11/2010

Guangzhou - Sheikh Majid Bin Abdullah Al Qasimi was relishing his moment of glory after winning the equestrian team silver in jumping at the 16th Asian Games on Monday.
"Five years ago it would have been funny to think that I could have been on a podium at an Asian Games. But today this is a reality and it will probably take some time for the feeling to sink in," Sheikh Majid told Gulf News.
"Maybe I will first go on a holiday and then think what we need to do next only after that," he added.
With Saudi Arabia taking the gold, the young UAE quartet had to fight in a jump-off with Hong Kong to decide the silver medallists. Shaikha Latifa Al Maktoum came in first and drew a four-point penalty after knocking down the seventh obstacle, while Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum drew just one penalty point on the time. But it was Sheikh Majid cementing the silver with a flawless effort on the 13 obstacles placed on the course.
"This medal is even more special as we came here with a young team. I think this is one of the youngest teams here when compared to all these experienced riders. We don't have too much experience, but we have worked hard to be here," said the 25-year-old.
‘Learning experience'
Prior to coming here, the team was camped in France and before that was placed 17th at the World Equestrian Games held in Kentucky, USA. "Participating in Kentucky was a huge learning experience for all of us," Sheikh Majid admitted.
And this experience ultimately proved to be their strong point. "All teams are equal here so we were very happy that we did well in the first round. That really pumped us up," he said.
However, the jump-off was a bit of a test on the nerves after the UAE ended with the team bronze in the same event four years ago in Doha Games. "There was a bit of a pressure in the jump-off and we did not want the same position. We wanted to move up at least a step," he smiled.
"The team spirit was really high and we fought well together. We really backed each other and this made winning a really great experience." (Gulf News)


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Sheikha Latifa leads UAE to second silver
posted on 23/11/2010

Guangzhou, China - After going eight days without a medal, the UAE have now claimed two in as many days after the Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum-led team finished second in the showjumping competition yesterday.
While Saudi Arabia wowed the crowd with near-perfect jumping to win the gold, the UAE won a jump-off with Hong Kong after finishing level with 11 faults.
Taleb Dhaher al Muhairi, the secretary general of the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF), said the performance by Sheikha Latifa, Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikh Majid Al Qasimi and Ahmed al Junaibi was one of the greatest moments for the country.
"I am very pleased that the UAE won the silver in the team jumping," al Muhairi said.
"It is a big achievement for our riders considering that there was stiff competition from many Asian countries."
He thanked Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE, for the team's success and welcomed his unconditional support for equestrian sports in the country.
He also took the opportunity to thank Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa, the EEF chairman, who provided all the facilities for the jumpers to train thoroughly to meet the growing global challenges.
All of the horses at the Games have been blood tested and microchipped in an effort to create a zone completely free of equine diseases.
And it has already had a positive outcome: China yesterday transported horses off the mainland for the first time in 60 years. The first batch of 26 competition horses left on a plane bound for Europe, the first time since 1949 the international community has accepted horses from mainland China.
The Games featured China's first-ever international equestrian event as outbreaks of equine disease and substandard quarantine procedures had previously prevented the country from hosting high-level competition. Competitors could get their horses into China, but not out.
During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, equestrian events were held in nearby Hong Kong,
Even though equestrian events have a tiny following in China, the competition has been earning high marks from participants.
"We were shocked at the facilities here and with the organisation. The services they have here are high-end," said Sheikh Majid.
"You can compare it with the highest international events."
To keep track of what has been going in and out of the equestrian area, competitors had to provide packing lists, right down to the hoof picks in the tack box. "It was strict but it's good for the sport ... because for an epidemic to spread, everyone will blame the Chinese for not doing their job. So this was very good for our horses," Sheikh Majid said.
Elsewhere, Yusuf Saad Kamel, the world champion from Bahrain, claimed he was forced to compete at the Games against his will, and the results showed yesterday when he failed to qualify for the final of the 1,500 metres.
The Kenya-born Kamel criticised Bahrain team officials, saying they ignored his complaints about an injured right knee and insisted he run in Guangzhou.
He finished ninth in the second of two heats, ranking 13th in qualifying. "I told my team officials but they didn't listen to me," Kamel, who has had long-running issues with Bahrain's athletics officials, said of the injury. "They pushed me to come and that's why I'm here.
"I'm not upset about my failure, but about their pushing me to run."
Kamel won the world championships at Berlin last year in 3mins, 35.93secs. His time yesterday was almost 23 seconds slower than that.
He also collected bronze in the 800m at the world championships, and is listed for the event in Guangzhou. He does not want to run that, either. – The National

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Farah does her country proud
posted on 18/11/2010

The appearance of UAE riders in two finals and the 13th placing of equestrienne Farah Al Khojai summed up the country's showing at the end of the fifth day of the 16th Asian Games.
The UAE's Badr Ali Al Beloushi finished eighth overall in the Men's Kierin Finals, while teammate Mohammad Al Murwwi came in 17th from 24 riders in the demanding Men's Points Race Finals held at the Guangzhou Velodrome Wednesday.
"This is something we can carry forward into the future," Al Beloushi told Gulf News. "We are pleased that we could achieve such good results with not too much of a preparation for the Asian Games," the UAE cyclist added.
Raising standards
Al Murwwi, too, was hoping to carry forward the same form into the next road race stage of the competition here. "Such results give one a lot of confidence and the ability to raise one's standard," Al Murwwi said.
Also doing well for herself and country was Farah Al Khojai as she ended 13th overall at the end of the individual dressage Wednesday. Al Khojai, the lone UAE participant at the dressage, was pleased with her performance and hoped to see better things ahead for herself and the sport once she gets back.
"This is something I can be proud about," Al Khojai said.
"I know I have to improve and after participating against such quality riders, some of them Olympic and world champions, it is amply clear as to what I need to do to ensure this sport grows," she added.
The UAE campaign in the men's and women's individual chess also concluded with Saleh Abdul Rahman Saleh and Hassan Abdullah being placed in 23rd and 24th place with 4.5 points respectively at the end of the nine rounds of competition at the Guangzhou Chess Institute.
Grand Master
Competition was tough with Grand Master Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan helping himself to the men's gold with 7.5 points, followed by Liem Le Quang of Vietnam and Bu Xiangzhi of China, while the Chinese pair of Hou Yifan and Xue Zhao took the gold and silver with 8.5 and 7.5 points in the women's leaving India's Harika Dronavalli with the bronze with 6.5 points.
Asked to comment on the UAE's failure to get off to a winning start in the medals table, Yousuf Al Sarkal, vice-president, UAE National Olympic Committee, admitted that besides the lack of preparation for the teams it was also down to luck and rising standards.
"The concentration of an athlete needs to start at least two days before the actual competition," Al Sarkal said.
"Getting prepared for a competition of this nature is one thing, but coming into a competition in the right frame of mind is another," he said as he watched the UAE's challenge in the bowling doubles wither away.
"However, we still have some disciplines remaining and hopefully our athletes will be able to push themselves and deliver with medals," Al Sarkal added. – Gulf News

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UAE riders to compete in Show Jumping World Championship
posted on 04/10/2010

Kentucky - The UAE riders will compete tomorrow in the Show Jumping World Championships of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park. Taleb Al Muhairi, Secretary General of Emirates Equestrian Federation, said the UAE team will participate in five world competitions.
The UAE is engaging in these equestrian games for the first time.
A Jumping competition is one in which the combination of horse and rider is tested under various conditions over a course of obstacles. It is intended to demonstrate the horse's freedom, energy, skill, speed and obedience in jumping as well as the rider's horsemanship. The competitor incurs penalties for exceeding the time allowed, for knocking down or refusing to jump an obstacle. The winner is the competitor who finishes with the least number of penalties.
Forty-one countries have submitted definite entries for the Show Jumping World Championships, presented by Rolex at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In total, there will be 136 riders and 138 horses, and 27 countries will field teams.
The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are the world championships of eight equestrian disciplines recognised by the F d ration Equestre Internationale (FEI). The Games are held every four years and this will be the first occurrence in the United States.
The very first World Equestrian Games were held in Stockholm in 1990. Six disciplines were involved--Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance and Vaulting. In 1994 the city of The Hague in the Netherlands hosted the Games. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Fryvolous owned by President ridden to superb victor at Abu Dhabi International Stakes in England
posted on 10/07/2009

In a challenging test on the soil of Europe, purebred Arabian champion 'Fryvolous' owned by President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan leapt into a thunderous victory at the Abu Dhabi International Stakes held in England's traditional Newmarket racecourse on Wednesday.
The event, which is part of the President's Cup races series sponsored by Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF), was witnessed by Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Dubai Deputy Ruler and UAE Minister of Finance HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The exciting event, which put eight horses in the field, was also witnessed by the wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, HRH Princess Haya Bint Hussain and a number of senior officials and racehorse owners along with a large crowd of racing enthusiasts.
The spectators cheered as the six-year-old Fryvolous was ridden into glorious victor by his jockey Daragh O'Donohoe.
The Stake was organised as per directives from HH Dr. Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, member of Executive Council and Chairman of the EEF. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Showjumpers head to Holland
posted on 30/06/2009

Five junior showjumpers from the UAE left on Monday to take part in the Arab Team Challenge which is scheduled to take place from July 1 to 5 at Hoofddorp in Holland.
The UAE riders include Sheikh Rashid Bin Ahmad Al Maktoum, Sheikh Ali Bin Abdullah Al Qasimi, Mohammad Abdullah Al Kitbi, Sultan Saif Al Awani and Yousuf Hashim Al Bafaaly. They will be taking part on horses borrowed from the host country, according to a press release from the Emirates Equestrian Federation.
The event, being held exclusively for member- countries of Group VII, will be held as part of FEI European Showjumping Championships for Juniors which is being held on Dutch soil for the first time. The organising committee requested the National Federations of FEI Group VII members to enter a junior team for the Arab Team Challenge.
The Arab Junior Team Challenge lends an extra dimension to the international character of this year's anniversary competition. This will provide young Arab participants with the opportunity to get a close look at the showjumping skills of their European counterparts.
During the international competition, each country will compete with four participants, whereby only the three best scores will count. The first round is scheduled for Thursday. The top ten countries will compete in the final, which will take place on Friday. The team whose best three riders have the least number of penalty points will win the gold medal. – Gulf News

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Nahyan bin Mubarak attends Haza bin Zayed Horse Show Jumping Championship
posted on 13/04/2009

Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister HE Sheikh Nayhan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, attended on Saturday the closing ceremony of the Horse Show Jumping First Championship of HH Sheikh Haza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, at the turf of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
Olympic rider Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum and international rider Ahmed Al Junaibi thrilled the spectators. Al Junaibi won the top position without errors, followed by Sheikha Latifa, without errors too. Knight Mohammed Ghanem Al Hagiri won the third position.
Sheikh Nahyan honoured the winners and greeted them for their achievement. He commended in a statement the support of Sheikh Haza to the championship. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Al Kumaiti brothers help UAE sweep top five places
posted on 17/01/2009

The Al Kumaiti brothers helped the UAE riders start the Abu Dhabi International Show Jumping Championship with a clean sweep of the top five places in the opening competition - the International Senior event at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Thursday.
Mohammad Abdullah Al Kumaiti and his younger brother Ali came first and second in the opening event, a competition Against the Clock for seniors with 67 riders in the fray.
Riding Isiane, Mohammad Al Kumaiti finished with a clear round in 61.48 seconds to pocket the first prize of Dh 7,500. Ali was a close second on Al Mutamaken while Sheikh Shakhboot Bin Nahyan Al Nahyan was third.
Abdullah Ali Al Sheibi and Khalid Al Juneibi completed a clean sweep in the event with the fourth and fifth places.
In the Dh40,000 Special Two Phases International event for Seniors, Italian Andre Sakakini partnered Miss Corland to a smart win.
Sakakini completed the round in 29.4 seconds with Saudi Prince Abdullah Bin Muteab Bin Abdullah on Saudi Arabia finishing second. The UAE took bronze with Mohammad Bin Ghanem Al Marri riding Shakira to a third place. – Gulf News

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Shakhbout bin Nahyan wins Holland International Show jumping championship
posted on 30/07/2008

Holland - Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan Al Nahyan has won the "Valkensward" Show jumping Championship which ended here Wednesday. Forty five contestants from various parts of the world participated in the championship.
In a statement, Sheikh Shakhbout expressed profound gratitude to President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Chairman of the UAE Equestrian Association, Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for their unstinting support to equestrian sport in the country, which led to a number of international achievements.
He said he is now preparing for other championships in France, adding that the UAE's participation in the Beijing Olympic Games will be a special one in the show jumping and other sports. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Sultan bin Khalifa hails participation of Sheikha Latifa at Olympics
posted on 30/07/2008

HH Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the UAE Equestrian Federation today hailed the participation of Sheikha Latifa bint Ahmed Al Maktoum at the Beijing Olympics."The UAE is proud of the participation of Sheikha Latifa and other UAE athletes at the Olympics. We wholeheartedly wish them every success and good luck", said Sheikh Sultan. Sheikh Sultan also expressed confidence in the UAE athletes, saying they would live to the expectations of their fans at home. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Latifa does UAE proud as she qualifies for Beijing Olympics
posted on 13/03/2007

Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum did the UAE proud by qualifying for next year's Beijing Olympic Games in the individual show jumping event. A brilliant effort by Sheikha Latifa helped her clock 47.72 seconds in the Jump-off in the Individual Qualifier for 2008 Olympic Games on the concluding day of the Seventh Qatar International Show Jumping Championship on Sunday.

Sheikha Latifa achieved the feat while riding her own horse Kalaska De Semilly (Diamant De Semilly - Normandy Night). Sheikha Latifa had last December won a team bronze medal here at Doha in the Asian Games as part of the UAE team.

The show jumping team from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia qualified in the team event for the 2008 Games.

According to a press release from the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation, Sheikha Latifa was under tremendous pressure and felt she wouldn't be able to make it through just before the event. "I was under tremendous pressure in the first two rounds and it is always difficult to perform under pressure. It wasn't an easy course, as we saw not many riders get through, but in the end all that matters is the qualifier for the Olympics and I have done it," said an exuberant Sheikha Latifa.

While praising the facilities and the efforts of the organising committee, Sheikha Latifa said: "The championship was organised very well, great facilities; it was a great ground to work on." Sheikh Hamad Bin Ali Al Thani, President of Qatar Equestrian Federation, felicitated the winners of the championship.

The six-day event, which began on March 6, featured over 250 riders/horses from different national, GCC and other countries. It was organised by the Qatar Equestrian Federation (QEF) in association with Federation Equestre Internationale, FEI, and Qatar National Olympic Committee, QNOC. (Gulf News)

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UAE show jumpers look for glory in Bahrain
posted on 21/02/2007

Strong contingent of UAE show jumpers are heading to Bahrain to take part in the His Majesty The King's Cup Show Jumping Championship, which will be held in Bahrain from today to Friday. he CSI-W event, to be held at Police Mounted Centre, Budaiya, is the FEI World Cup Jumping Qualifier for Arab League, a press release from the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation said.

The Championship is being organised by the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation. Though the Championship officially invites only six foreign riders and 12 horses per Federation, extra riders are being invited at their own expenses.

The three-day competitions in Bahrain also include other categories of show jumping including Qualifying Competition for the FEI World Cup Jumping Competitions, One Round with Jump-off, One round with Jump-Off Against the Clock, International Speed Class and Accumulator with Joker.

The jumper who qualifies in the FEI World Cup Jumping Competition will vie in the final championship to be held later this year in Las Vegas. (Gulf News)


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