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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

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Van Iersel Rogier
London 2012 Olympic Games

Kamal Bahamdan comes in fourth in the Individual Show Jumping Finals at the London 2012 Olympic Games

The Saudi Equestrian Olympic rider Kamal Bahamdan missed out on individual bronze medal glory in Greenwich by the smallest of margins. Competing against the finest and most experienced of show jumpers, Kamal rode a clear round into fourth place in the individual jump final which went into a tie-breaking jump-off for silver and gold medal places.

With three of the Saudi Equestrian team members qualified through to the individual show jumping finals, HRH Prince Abdullah, Ramzy Al Duhami and Kamal Bahamdan started their last day at the Olympic Games with a good showing with HRH Prince Abdullah starting in the top ten.

The Saudi team has gained great respect over the period of the games, the live commentary being both informed and enthusiastic.

First into the Arena on Noblesse Des Tess Kamal Bahamdan, much to the appreciation of the crowd, drew praise from the commentary team. “Saudi Arabia – what a performance they have put up, they have won bronze. They have only ever won three medals in the Olympics and this is their first team medal. They have put up a fantastic performance” said commentator Michael Tucker.

The course was forcing faults and in particular time faults from riders over several of the jumps, but one that was proving particularly hazardous was the four-metre wide water jump.

Noblesse was impressive, with great ability, a gutsy approach and an obvious willingness to engage with Bahamdan, she addressed the jumps with energy and precision to jump a clear round.  She cleared the water jump with a real verve and left the run in clear for Bahamdan. The time allowed for the completion of  the 520-metre course was set at 88 seconds and skimming just over that, Bahamdan received a time penalty of one point for an otherwise perfect clear round, with no fences down.

“The team from Saudi Arabia are really showing what they can do,” said Tucker.

"KSA is now on the world stage. Saudi Arabia has impressed everybody this week. "

This round placed Bahamdan firmly into the group of 22 riders that would advance to the second and final round.

Ramzy Al Duhami on Bayard followed immediately after Bahamdan, Tucker noting that he replaced Sydney Bronze medallist Khaled Al Eid, but that “The four that are here have done their country proud.”

After a good start with Bayard looking keen, Al Duhami unexpectedly clipped the White Horse fence, one of the easier jumps, accruing four faults.

This seemed to unsettle the pair. On the last two-part combination, Al Duhami went ragged as a result of “a bit of an argument coming into the combination” between Al Duhami and Bayard (as commentator Andy Austin, himself a show jumper, put it ) and downed a fence for four faults as he realised that the time limit was pressing.

One more down and Al Duhami was out of medal contention finishing the round on a 12-point penalty; at this stage five riders had clear rounds ahead of him and there was a slew of one and four faulters.

Last into the ring for the Kingdom came HRH Prince Abdullah on the 12 year-old Davos. HRH Prince Abdullah was stretched to control Davos through the double that had caused Al Duhami a problem and then clipped two more for eight faults. The pair settled and cleared the final five fences of the round just outside the 80-second time limit and scored nine faults.

This left Bahamdan, with one time fault, as the remaining Saudi team member with a medal chance.

“What a show they have put on,” said Tucker as Kamal Bahamdan came out with a real chance at a medal and to loud applause from an enthusiastic crowd.

Bahamdan worked hard over the first few fences, fully aware of the time pressure. He needed to be settled into double combination and took control of Noblesse who responded magnificently. “This mare really does try and really has got some power off the floor,” noted Austin as Noblesse floated over the remaining fences, rattling a couple on the way.

“He is giving this everything, the Saudi Arabians have got better and better the further we have got into this show jumping discipline here,” added Tucker.

Kamal, like his team mates, rode with style, precision, grace, control, poise, balance and caution. It was caution that gave him a clear round but this cost Kamal another time fault – this time two points – after his second clear round.

As Bahamdan went clear, the appreciative crowd cheered then commiserated as they realised Bahamdan had just slipped over the time limit once again clocking 83.45 seconds.

He knows he won’t win gold, but what a performance,” said Tucker. “The Saudi Arabians have come very much onto the world and particularly the Olympic stage,” said Tucker.

Following Bahamdan, still in contention for a medal with only two penalty points and with six zero-point riders to go, the competition remained wide open.

As the leaders competed, where the winner would have to complete a clear round within the allotted time frame, the tiredness of the horses and the intense pressure began to tell.

The Team GB favourite 2012 gold medallist, Nick Skelton, picked up four points, and other riders collected faults until Bahamdan lay fourth with only two points.

The competition went to a win for Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat on Nino Des Buisonnets and a tie between The Netherlands’ Gerco Schroeder on London and Ireland’s Cian O’Connor riding Blue Lloyd. The decider was a jump-off over a shortened course between Schroeder and O’Connor.

In the final jump-off, Schoeder went clear and O’Connor picked up four points, resulting in a gold medal for Guerdat of Switzerland, silver for Schroeder and bronze for Ireland’s O’Connor.

Saudi Arabia’s Bahamdan came in fourth having ridden two clear rounds with one time fault in each.

The inspired vision of Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, to create and invest in the Saudi Equestrian Fund with the intent of building a team that would bring home medals has been a huge success. It is a success that will strengthen the appeal and popularity of equestrianism in the Kingdom and  inspire a generation.

In the words of one observer from the UK who has followed the team over the years, “The Saudi Equestrian Team has brought home the Kingdom’s first Olympic medal in a team sport. And just as significant, their superb riding skills, as well as their smiles and obvious joy and pride in competing so well have also won praise, popularity and respect in the eyes, hearts and minds of the 21,000 spectators at the Royal Greenwich Arena and from the countless millions around the world who followed the thrills and excitement of the London 2012 Olympic Show Jumping events.”

The Saudi Equestrian 2012 Olympic team, their support staff, trainers and coaches have given that legacy the solid foundation it needs on which to build King Abdullah’s dream.

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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