Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Doha: Riders set for endurance challenge

SIX riders will represent Bahrain at the endurance horseride competition of the Asian Games scheduled for Thursday at the Mesaieed Endurance Course in Doha starting at 6am.

The race will cover a total distance of 120 kms and is divided into five stages as endurance riding is being introduced to the Asian Games for the first time

The team will be led by Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa who is also captain of the Royal Endurance Team.

The remaining riders are Breef first vice-president and Al Khaldiya Stables captain Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Al Fateh Stables duo Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa and Shaikh Salman bin Saqer Al Khalifa, Al Talia stable rider Ahmed Al Ruwaiei and Fahad Bakheit of Royal Endurance Team.

The endurance ride is split into two categories - team and individual. A country can enter a maximum of four riders per team and two individual riders for the competition.

Horses are regularly vetted on the ride, where they are checked for soundness and dehydration, and their pulse is taken.

To continue the ride, the horse must pass the exam, including lowering its heart rate to 64 beats per minute.

The winning team is the team with the fastest time after adding the final classification of the three highest placed competitors in the team. The individual winner is the rider with the fastest time.

"We have some of the best Asian riders following our performance and results at the World Equestrian Games last August," said Shaikh Nasser.

Shaikh Nasser took part in the World Equestrian Games in Aachen where he finished 14th overall while Shaikh Daij came ninth.

"I have faith in the team and am confident that our riders will give off their best in the upcoming race," said the Breef chief.

"Our riders are experienced now having competed in various races in the last three years and we are expecting strong competition from other riders in the region such as the UAE and Qatar," he said.

"We aim to win one of the top three places in this competition which will be a double joy for all Bahrainis as we celebrate the National Day and His Majesty King Hamad's accession to the throne," said Shaikh Nasser.

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