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Princess Haya bint Al Hussein has received the United States Sports Academy's Eagle Award for 2010 for her contribution to equestrian sports and her role in the Olympic movement.
Princess Haya bint Al Hussein has received the United States Sports Academy's Eagle Award for 2010 for her contribution to equestrian sports and her role in the Olympic movement.

Princess Haya wins academy's top award

Wife of Sheikh Mohammed is recognised with US body's highest sporting honour for her dedicated work 'bringing nations together through sport for the betterment of mankind'.

DUBAI // Princess Haya bint Al Hussein has received the United States Sports Academy's Eagle Award for 2010 for her "contribution to equestrian sports" as well as her role in the Olympic movement.

The Alabama-based sports university said Princess Haya - the wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai - had been chosen for its highest international honour.

The Eagle Award is presented to a leading sporting figure in recognition of his or her "contributions in promoting international harmony, peace and goodwill through the effective use of sport".

"The recipient of this award must have tempered strength with keen judgment in using authority wisely as a means of bringing nations together through sport for the betterment of mankind," the college said.

Earlier this month, Princess Haya was re-elected by a landslide vote as President of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) - the international governing body for equestrian sports - a position she has held since 2006.

In 2007, she was also named as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The United States Sports Academy said they chose Princess Haya as the recipient of the 2010 Eagle Award because of her long sporting career, which began when she started representing Jordan at international show jumping events when she was just 13 years old.

She was the first female to represent her country in the sport at international level.

Princess Haya won the Jordanian National Show Jumping Championship five times between 1986 and 1992, which was also the year she won a bronze medal at the Pan Arab Equestrian Games.

In 2000, she competed in the Olympic Games, held that year in Sydney, Australia, when she also served as Jordan's flag bearer for the opening ceremony. Four years later, Princess Haya also qualified for the Olympic Games in Athens.

In recent years, she has also become involved in endurance riding, competing in the 2005 World Endurance Championship in Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed is also known for his achievements in the equestrian field, particularly as an endurance rider, which has earned him international recognition.

At this year's FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in the United States, Sheikh Mohammed won the silver medal for the individual endurance event, while the UAE team won the overall team endurance race.

In addition to her achievements in the sporting arena, Princess Haya is known for her work in the humanitarian aid work.

In 2007, she was appointed as a United Nations Messenger of Peace by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, with a focus on raising awareness about hunger and poverty.

The position followed her role as the first Arab and first woman to be named as a World Food Programme Goodwill Ambassador in 2005.

The United States Sports Academy's 2009 Eagle Award was presented to the Brazilian former professional volleyball player Carlos Arthur Nuzman for his role in bringing the 2016 Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games to his country.

The Eagle Award has been conferred by the academy every year since 1986 to a leader in sports. Other recipients have included the former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch and Prince Albert of Monaco.

The academy, based in Daphne, Alabama, is a university that focuses on sports education - instruction, research and service - to prepare students for a career in sports.

 

zconstantine@thenational.ae

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