YOUNG RIDER Omar Abdulaziz Al Marzooqi made equestrian history for the UAE by becoming the first Emirati to win a medal at the Youth Olympic Games. His name will go down in national showjumping folklore after he scalped silver in the showjumping competition during this year’s edition of the quadrennial games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a fortnight ago. Riding La Corina Lala, Al Marzooqi snatched silver behind Italian rider Giacomo Casadei aboard Darna Z. The pair were the only two riders from a group of 30 to ride through without any penalties. While Casadei needed 31.79s to clear the course, Al Marzooqi was a little under 3s behind in 34.37s. Finishing third with one penalty against his name was Honduran rider Pedro Espinosa. Al Marzooqi was thrilled with the result and dedicated his victory to the UAE’s leaders. “I cannot help but thank HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and members of the Supreme Council of the UAE, for their unlimited support which gives us the impetus to achieve things and record successes for the country,” Al Marzooqi said. Speaking of the competition, the youngster added: “Riding there was not at all easy. There were 30 riders from 30 different countries, all with a high level and a good amount of competitive experience. “But the pressure was on all participants because we were up against speed and time. God rewarded me for my efforts with the first silver medal in the history of the UAE’s participation in these games and I consider this the start of what is to follow. “I have certainly acquired very good experience from competing here and my goal now is to take it a step further and try and win a piece of silverware at the Olympic Games to put the UAE flag right up there with the rest of the best.” Omar, 15, was the second youngest athlete to participate in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires and UAE national team coach Abdulaziz Al Marzooqi couldn’t have been more proud of his charge. “He is the youngest among the riders and the second youngest athlete at these games and he has shown true character in competing and winning this prize,” Abdulaziz said.