Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Malaysia Confirmed to host World Endurance Championship

IT'S confirmed! Malaysia will get to host the 2008 World Endurance Championship after passing the final test set by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) in Lembah Bidong, Setiu, yesterday.

To qualify for the host job, at least 40 per cent of the foreign riders taking part in the Sultan's Cup Terengganu Endurance Challenge at the Terengganu International Endurance Park, had to complete the 160km race.According to event manager Azrin Zuhdi, the foreign riders' completion rate was 67 per cent while the overall completion rate was 71 per cent, well above the international average of 46 per cent.

The race was full of surprises as non-ranking rider Naser Marzouqi of United Arab Emirates (UAE) emerged champion after shrugging off challenges from top ranking riders, including world number one Jack Begaud of France.

Naser crossed the finish line with his 12-year-old mare, Hafiza Du Mas, in 10 hours 31 minutes and 50 seconds, beating Begaud on 11-year-old gelding, Idais Tohiba, by one minute and 23 seconds.

Malaysian rider Faizal Ismail, astride 10-year-old Rayyan, sprang a surprise early on by finishing first in the first two rounds but squandered the lead in the next five rounds to finish 10th.

Third place went to another UAE rider, Khalid Al Shafar, who took 10:39:07s to finish the race with gelding Supreme Dream, a second faster than Brazillian Maria Vitoria Lins on gelding Filoteu Rach.

Yang di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, riding 13-year-old gelding Harmere Cairo, completed the race in 14:20:26s to finish 23rd.

A total of 41 participants, including 20 riders from Spain, France, Qatar, Argentina, Brazil, the United States, Japan and Belgium, took part in the three-day event.

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