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Saudi Equestrian
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The Riders

Khaled Al Eid (KSA)
Al Duhami Ramzy (KSA)
Abdulah Al Sharbatly (KSA)
Kamal Bahamdan (KSA)
HH Prince Faisal Al Shalan

The Horses

Melodie
Seldana di Campalto
Cezanne
Jalla De Gaverie
Presley Boy
Bayard
Delphi
Skara Glens Davos
Secret
Talan
Al Capone
Sultan V

Support

Van Iersel Rogier
London 2012 Olympic Games

Saudi Equestrian aim for more Show Jumping Medals

One medal behind them for the team Jumping event and there is a galvanised sense of purpose and focus among the Saudi Equestrian team. It was the first medal for Saudi Arabia at the London 2012 games, its second Olympic equestrian medal and first medal in an Olympic team event.

Today (Wednesday) they face another challenging Olympic course as individuals and ride for individual gold and glory. The riders are up against talented and experienced competitors, all with top standard horses and all equally determined to snatch gold.

One strong contender is Saudi Equestrian’s Prince Abdullah Al Saud, “I think what happened was beyond expectations,” team captain, said on Monday after he finished with only four penalty points over a course designed as the ultimate test and which included monster 1.6 metre jumps.

He added that the team was hoping to “make history” by appearing on the medals table for the first time in team show jumping. His hopes came true after a superb performance from the four team riders and their mounts.

Team member Ramzy Al Duhami said he had not the words to explain how much this [bronze medal] meant to the Kingdom. “We have invested so much in this sport and we hope our success here will progress show jumping in our country.”

The team took a well earned rest after taking the horses out for an early morning check over and some gentle flat-work, said  Chef d'equipe Rogier van Iersel . “The riders are very relaxed, had a good night’s sleep and after another inspection of the horses on Wednesday morning will prepare for the first round that starts at 12 noon”. (2pm Saudi time)  They are in very good spirits, the medal gave them a tremendous boost and the prospects look quite promising,” he added.

Van Iersel explained that in the individual competition all riders start with zero points, none are carried forward from the team event. The jumping order will be the reverse of the medal order, putting the Saudi’s in third last to go. “This is an advantage, for they will know what they have to do and where the problems are on the course,” said Van Iersel.

He observed that it was difficult to say which riders in the event had the best chance of meals. “Many out there could win or take a medal,” he said, “Including us.”

Amidst jubilation in the Saudi Equestrian stable, there was world recognition of the Saudi riders’ performance. During the team’s rounds, BBC commentators announced that it was, “fine buying horses but they (Saudi Equestrian) have ridden them. Congratulations to Saudi Arabia”.

The Reuters agency filed a resounding accolade to Team KSA over the global news agency wires: "Saudi Equestrian has achieved a goal set in 2009 – to buy great horses and succeed in London”.

This is a resounding endorsement of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz’s  vision to create  the Saudi Equestrian Fund by royal decree at the end of 2009 – with the target of providing the country with a legacy in equestrianism.

Van Iersel, who has been working with the Saudis since 2006, saw that there was talent in depth in riders, but he needed horses ready for top level competition to achieve anything at the 2012 Olympics. He has said his goal for the team was to achieve round two. The team exceeded that far beyond expectations.

"I had seen for a long time that we had top-level riders but we lacked the horse power," he said. "And horse power comes with finding the right resources to buy these horses."

Hence the Saudi Equestrian Federation came into existence. Van Iersel noted that the team policy was not to buy young horses and to hopefully have them develop to a good level, because that route led to many disappointments. “The target is to buy proven quality," he observed.

Whatever the efforts and resources to acquire the best in horses by any of the teams, “Still you need to sit on them, have the talent and put in the hard work to get anywhere,” he said.

In the wake of the team’s success, the riders remain relaxed but focused on the job in hand and the stable’s vets and support team are at work to ensure that the horses are fit and rested.

The final and perhaps the biggest test comes today. And the hope of the nation is for more medals for the Saudi Equestrian to shine in the Kingdom as an inspiration for a new generation of budding equestrian talent.

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World Cup™ Arab League Standings

 

Pos

Name

Pts

Nat.

1

OUADDAR, Abdelkebir

102 MAR

2

AL ATTIYAH, Hamad Ali Mohammed

101 QAT

3

AL SHARBATLY, Abdullah

97 KSA

4

MOHAMMED, Bassem Hassan

87  QAT

5

EL DAHAN, Sameh

86 EGY