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Al Muhairi targeting gold at world meet in US after leaping to bronze in Sharjah

15/02/2018
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HAVING LEAPT to a bronze in the HH Ruler of Sharjah Cup presented by Longines, Emirati show jumper Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi will now train his sights on turning in a performance worthy of gold at this year’s World Equestrian Games in North Carolina, United States. Al Muhairi is keen on impressing at the world stage having done well in the CSI 5*-W rated event held indoors at Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club last weekend, which served as a qualifier for the FEI World Cup. The Emirati was in fine form and looked like he would finish better than third, but his hopes crashed at the final hurdle as his 13yo ride Cha Cha Cha 7 erred when making the jump, which cost Al Muhairi valuable seconds. His time of 45.

64secs would prove good enough for third as he finished behind Sweden’s dual Olympian, Henrik von Eckermann, who won aboard Chacanno in a time of 43.24secs. Italian rider Emanuele Gaudiano, aboard Caspar 232, was third with a time of 43.93secs. Al Muhairi looked superb in the first round where he was just 0.15secs behind Von Eckermann who completed the course in 71secs. A total of 11 riders competed in the final round, where only eight riders produced flawless rides. And while Al Muhairi placed third, his Emirati countrywoman Sheikha Latifa bint Ahmad Al Maktoum finished 11th after a ride of 51.13secs with one fault.

Al Muhairi said: “Overall I am very pleased with this performance because there were some really strong riders in the field and they were competing really hard for the prize.” The World Equestrian Games will be held at the Tryon International Equestrian Centre in North Carolina from 11- 23 September and Al Muhairi is confident he can carry the momentum forward. “I think this is good for the future and I believe I can hope for better things and win a medal for the UAE at the World Equestrian Games,” added Al Muhairi, who won the Sharjah Islamic Bank class ride aboard Ulme De Feugeres a day earlier. “I am confident and believe I have been improving consistently over the past and this medal winning performance in the HH Ruler of the Sharjah Cup is proof that I am on the right track. “I have the support I need especially from HH Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi (Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah), and I had the privilege of riding his Cha Cha Cha 7 at this event.

My goal is to do very well for myself and the country in this event and my ultimate goal is to win an Olympic medal.” Al Muhairi will now team up with Sheikha Latifa, Sheikh Majid Al Qasimi, Mohammed Al Kumaiti and Abdullah Al Marri as the quintet make a bid for the Longines FEI Jumping Nation’s Cup, which will be held at the the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club from 14-17 February. “Our next focus is as a team and to do well at the Nation’s Cup. We have a very good team and we hope to put in a strong performance that will secure a good result for the UAE,” said Al Muhairi, who was part of the UAE team that won the Nation’s Cup in Barcelona in September last year.

The other CSI 5*-W event, the Sharjah Islamic Bank Final, which was also held at the indoor facility produced an Emirati third place finish when Mohammed Ahmed Al Owais bagged the spot aboard Tina La Boheme with a time of 44.64secs. Norway’s Cecilie Hatteland won the event aboard Alex with a time of 42.51secs, with Evelina Tovek of Sweden claiming the runner-up spot aboard Dalila De La Pomme with a time of 43.09secs. The CSI2* Longines Cup held outdoors saw Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt win aboard Belo Horizonte with a time of 40.45secs, with Sweden’s Von Eckermann only just behind in second place aboard Flotte Deern 5 with a time of 40.70secs. UAE rider Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri was a distant third as he completed the course aboard Cortani with a time of 45.25secs.

Meanwhile, teams from the Emirates won the three Nations Cup events for Young Riders, Juniors and Childrens classes. While Abdullah Mohammed Al Maamzi, Haya Ali Saeed Al Shamsi, Saif Awaida Mohammed Al Kirbi and Eisa Omran Al Owais featured in the UAE Children’s team, Omar Abdulaziz Al Marzooqi, Mohammed Sultan Al Yahyai, Sultan Majed Al Awani and Ali Hamad Al Kirbi were part of the Juniors team. The Young Riders team comprised: Abdul Rahman Ahmed Ameen, Mohammed Omran Ali Al Owais, Humaid Abdulla Khalifa Al Muhairi and Moufi Owaida Al Karbi. The event received a pat on the back from Ingmar De Vos, the President of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI), who dubbed it a “top class event put together by very efficient organisers”.

Sultan Khalifa Al Yahya’ie, the General Manager of Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club (SERC) was thoroughly pleased with the organisation of the event and said: “This was a great opportunity for us to showcase to the world that we too have the infrastructure needed to host a world class event such as this. We have been working hard to bring such events to the UAE. “The event’s upgrade to a five star status was much needed and it will help elevate club’s status to one of the top equestrian facility in the country.”

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