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Shaikh Hazza lifts endurance crown

DUBAI: Shaikh Hazza bin Sultan Al Nahyan yesterday clinched the individual gold medal while Bahrain finished fifth in the team competition in the 160-km FEI Endurance World Championship at the Dubai Endurance City. Riding the 10-year-old Bay Gelding Hachim and averaging 22.68 kmh, Shaikh Hazza pulled back a deficit of one minute and 35 seconds to clinch the sixth and final stage and complete the 160-km marathon ride in seven hours, three minutes and 22 seconds.

Taking the silver just 52 seconds behind was French rider Barbara Lissarague on the crossbred grey mare Georgat while third was Dubai Crown Prince and UAE defence minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who finished in seven hours, eight minutes and 45 seconds on the eight-year-old bay gelding Nashmi.

In the team event, the UAE, led by Shaikh Mohammed, with the solid backing of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Shaikh Mohammed's sons Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed and Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed, looked odds on for the team title until Shaikh Mansour's Al Barak and Shaikh Hamdan's Muneef both failed the vet check before the start of loop five.

With the UAE out of the medals race, the way was clear for the Italian team of Diana and Angela Origgi and Gianluca Lalisclia to take the title with a combined ride time of 25 hours and 39 seconds.

Australia (26:59:46) with Peter Toft, Kristie McGaffin and Jennifer Gilbertson finished second. Belgium's Leonard Liesens and Karin and Jacques Boulanger (28:31:24) finished third.

Bahrain's Shaikh Salman bin Saqer Al Khalifa finished 11th in the individual event.

Bahrain's Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Breef first vice-president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Yousef Taher were unable to complete the race.

Bahrain captain Shaikh Nasser was disqualified after the fifth stage as his horse Vandik failed to pass the veterinarian examination.

Earlier, Shaikh Khalid and Taher pulled out in the second and fourth stages after their horses were injured while other team members Shaikh Salman, Hamad Al Meraisi and Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa were successful in completing the race to help the team finish fifth overall.

Shaikh Daij, the only Bahraini rider taking part in the individual race, finished the race in eight hours, 10 minutes and three seconds.



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