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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Omar Al Marzooqi claims silver in showjumping to become first Emirati medallist at Youth Olympic Games

The 15-year-old insists his success is 'just the beginning' after his historic performance in Buenos Aires

Omar Al Marzooqi in action during the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. Courtesy UAE National Olympic Committee.
Omar Al Marzooqi in action during the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. Courtesy UAE National Olympic Committee.

Omar Al Marzooqi made history as the first Emirati to medal at the Youth Olympic Games after claiming silver in the individual showjumping on Sunday.

Al Marzooqi, who was onboard La Corina Lala, led five riders into the jump-off after each had completed clear rounds on Friday and Saturday at the Club Hipico Argentino on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

Italian Giacomo Casadei, atop Darna Z, edged out Al Marzooqi in the jump-off to claim the gold medal. Pedro Espinosa of Honduras, who had won gold in the team event earlier in the week, took bronze on board Llavaneras Genquina.

Al Marzooqi, 15, said he was “crazy about horses”, and the opportunity to experience elite competition in the Argentina capital has inspired him to chase other goals in the sport.

“I can’t stop. I won’t stop. It’s in my blood,” he said after his silver medal-winning effort.

“If I don’t go to the stable every day, I get worried about why I am not there. I finish school, I go home, and then I go to the stables. I am there every day for three or four hours.”

Al Marzooqi had been confident all week before the individual competition and believed the UAE had the ability to win medals at the Youth Olympics, particularly in equestrian sports.

“This is an exciting moment for me and my country, and I want to thank the Rulers of the UAE for the opportunities and the support they have provided us,” he said.

“It was very tough competition with more than 30 riders from 30 different countries. It was a huge pressure and challenge to all riders, and most of them were from leading schools in the game.

“I did my best in the team event, but was unlucky. But thank God, I made the difference in the individual to win silver, the first in the history of the UAE participation in the youth games.

“I consider this as just a beginning for more to come in the summer Olympic Games in the name of the UAE.”