Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

UAE riders clinch team gold

The endurance championship in Malaysia is dominated by competitors from Gulf states.

The UAE endurance riders won a team gold ahead of Qatar and Bahrain and an individual bronze as the Gulf states dominated the 2008 World Endurance Championship in Terengganu, Malaysia. Maria Alvarez Ponton, who trains endurance horses in Dubai with her husband Juma Punti Dachs for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, won the individual gold for Spain on her Dubai-trained gelding Nobby to retain the crown won by Miguel Villa Ubach in 2006 in Germany.

Augustin Vita of Argentine on Baraka Ibn Tamah and the UAE's Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem on Cal Ramon shared the podium with her after the 160-kilometre race. The UAE riders occupied third to seventh places behind Ponton and Vita. "It is a massive step forward for the region," said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, who was out of the race after Kaysand Farrazah went lame. He was racing in second behind Ponton at the time. Sheikh Hamdan's chances were dashed when his first choice entry Jazyk, was ruled out when a pre-race veterinary inspection revealed the 11-year-old had a swelling on one eye. As a result, Sheikh Hamdan had to ride the reserve horse Kaysand Farazzah, and decided to opt out of the team event.

"We had a strong chance of winning the team gold and I didn't want to ruin that opportunity," said Sheikh Hamdan. "It is a great feeling to have won the team gold and the individual bronze. "I am also thrilled our brothers from Qatar and Bahrain joined us on the podium to celebrate. It only goes on to show how much progress we have made in such a short period of time." Ponton, the new world champion, paid a tribute to the country she has made her second home. "My own success has been largely because of the encouragement and support we have received from Sheikh Mohammed and his family members. So I am really happy for them and the celebrations."

Ponton, who won the European championship bronze on the same horse last year, had a setback when her husband's mount Elvis Hob was withdrawn because of injury. "This was the first time I have ridden without him in an international competition," said Ponton, who completed the race in 8 hrs 48 min and 06 sec. Qatar were elated with their silver. Bahrain claimed the team silver in last year's European Open.

apassela@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Al Ahli's Ismail Al Hammadi, left, battles for the ball during the Arabian Gulf Cup final between against Al Jazira at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on April 19, 2014. Al Hammadi hit the game-winner in the 81st minute for Ahli. Al Ittihad

Al Ahli maintain course for domestic treble with victory over Al Jazira in Arabian Gulf Cup

Al Ahli maintained their hopes of a domestic treble with a superb comeback victory against Al Jazira in the Arabian Gulf Cup final on Saturday night.

 Alex Kacaniklic, left, of Fulham tackles Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur during their Premier League match at White Hart Lane on April 19, 2014, in London, England. Clive Rose / Getty Images

Tottenham keep pace in chase for European places with victory over Fulham

Swansea appear to be safe after rallying past Newcastle while Crystal Palace continue their winning streak

 On a track described as a ‘tyre-killer’ in Shanghai, Lewis Hamilton went untested on his way to a 34th pole – the most by a British driver – yesterday. Carlos Barria / Reuters

Hamilton has sympathy for fans hung out to dry with wet tyre rules

The Briton takes his career's 34th pole - the most by a British driver - but sympathises it was not ideal for the ticket-paying public.

 Yuzvendra Chahal, centre, and the Royal Challengers Bangalore teammates celebrate after the bowlers set up an easy win over Mumbai Indians. Pawan Singh / The National

Bowlers set up Bangalore as Patel stand tall over Mumbai

Mumbai bowlers gave early hope but Parthiv Patel and AB de Villiers' unbeaten stand of 99 ensures second defeat for the men in blue in Dubai.

 Roelof Kotzee is leading UAE to unchartered territory. Sarah Dea / The National

UAE step into the unknown ahead of Asian Five Nations

Performance manager Roelof Kotze will give 12 players their first experience of international rugby, but there is also minimal information on Singapore ahead of first Test in Dubai on Wednesday, reports Paul Radley.

 Novak Djokovic of Serbia winces in pain during his semi-final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 19, 2014. Federer prevailed to set up an all-Swiss final with Stanislas Wawrinka. SEBASTIEN NOGIER / EPA

Ailing Djokovic will ‘just rest now’ while Nadal not pressing the panic button

Djokovic says only rest will help is injured right wrist after he falls to Roger Federer on Saturday, and Nadal suffers just his third career defeat in Monte Carlo when he slumped to a shock 7-6, 6-4 quarter-final loss to compatriot Ferrer on Friday.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National