Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum leads UAE equestrian team in search of Asian Games medals
Also on Monday, the UAE men's football team face North Korea in quarter-finals
Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum is confident she can add more medals to the UAE’s tally when she leads the showjumping in both the individual and team event at the 18th Asian Games in Palembang.
Already a winner of a team bronze at the 2006 Doha Games and two silvers, in the individual and team, four years later in Guangzhou, Sheikha Latifa believes the UAE can challenge for medals in both the disciplines.
“Everyone has arrived here with the intentions of winning medals and we are no exception,” said Sheikha Latifa who rides Corbolt 8 in the three-day equestrian competition.
The one concern she had was the humid conditions in the city of Sumatra, more than 600 kilometres north of Jakarta.
“Our horses were based and training in Europe and we wish they have all adapted to the weather conditions at the Asian Games venue,” she added.
“We participated in a couple of competitions and the preparations have been good. We have had a few training sessions in Palembang and now we need to go out there and do our best.”
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The UAE quartet is completed by Nadia Taryam, who rides Cortado, Hamad Al Kirbi (Quel Caadan Z), and Mohammed Al Rumaithi (Denitha).
Meanwhile, the UAE men's football team have a chance to book their place in the semi-finals when they take on North Korea at the Pakansari Stadium, also in Palembang.
It is some turnaround for a team that were on brink of elimination in the group phase.
Maciej Skorza's side scraped through after losing two of their three games, qualifying for the last-16 as one of the four best third-placed teams. They overcame hosts Indonesia 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out to set up a quarter-final with North Korea, who were runners-up in Incheon four years ago.
Having reached the last eight, Skorza believes the UAE can now go all the way.
“There are no good fortunes in football but we deserved to be where we are right now,” the Pole said.
“The confidence is very high in the camp because we have taken the harder route. We had a hard last game, playing over 120 minutes, and we gave the players an extra day’s rest.”
Skorza will be able to call on midfielder Majid Surour who returns from a one-match ban.
“We have a full strength side and the boys are rearing to go,” Skorza said. “They are aware if we win we have a chance of playing for a medal. There’s a lot at stake in this game.”
Zayed Al Ameri, scorer of both the UAE's goals against Indonesia to send the match into extra time, says confidence in the dressing room is "unbelievably high”.
“The last win against the host team has made us to believe in ourselves. We will double that efforts in this game.”
The rest of the quarter-final line up sees defending champions South Korea face Uzbekistan, the 2010 winners Japan against Saudi Arabia and Syria taking on Vietnam.
Meanwhile, Alia Saeed, the Emirati runner who relinquished her 10,000m title on Saturday, will be looking to put that disappointment behind her when she returns for the 5,000m race on Monday.
Updated: August 28, 2018 11:31 AM