Top riders to feature in fifth edition of CHI Al Shaqab
February 21 2017 10:47 PM
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Omar al-Mannai (left), Event Director of CHI Al Shaqab, Saleh al-Mana (centre), Vice-President, Government & Public Affairs of ExxonMobil Qatar and Qatari rider Sheikh Ali bin Khalid al-Thani at a press conference yesterday at Al Shaqab.

By Sports Reporter/Doha

Top international riders will be in action at the fifth edition of the CHI Al Shaqab, which will be held at the magnificent Al Shaqab from March 2nd to 4th.
CHI Al Shaqab, sponsored by ExxonMobil Qatar, is one of only four international annual equestrian competitions that showcases three or more equestrian disciplines in one event. The prestigious competition will see top-ranking local, regional and international riders compete in Show Jumping CSI 5* and 3*, Dressage CDI 5*, and Para-Dressage CPEDI 3*.  
This year’s event holds special significance for Al Shaqab, as it marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the world-class equestrian centre. Around 160 riders and 240 horses from 32 countries will be in action for three days.
The members of the public will get a chance to celebrate Qatar’s rich equine heritage during the event, which was held for the first time in 2013.
Alongside the equestrian competition, visitors to Al Shaqab will be treated to a host of entertainment and cultural activities that aim to promote a legacy of appreciation for the sport.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Omar al-Mannai, event director of CHI Al Shaqab, said: “In just five years, CHI Al Shaqab has established itself as one of the top events on the international equestrian calendar, attracting equine enthusiasts from across the globe. The event attracts a great deal of international interest, which sheds a light on Qatar as a nation with a sporting legacy we can be proud of,” he said
“We look forward to hosting top riders, members of the business community and public, who will be given an opportunity to learn more about Qatari culture and traditions and the rich Arabian equine heritage,” al-Mannai added.
Al-Mannai also said the event will give an opportunity for young local riders to rub shoulders with the elite internationals and gain from the experience. Like last year, second leg of the Doha Tour will also be held concurrently with the CHI Al Shaqab. The three star competition will mainly see riders from Qatar and the GCC region.
A number of high profile guests will attend the much-anticipated equestrian event, including members of the Qatari royal family, and local and international VIPs within the equestrian sport and business world.
“ExxonMobil Qatar is delighted to sponsor CHI Al Shaqab for the fifth year, and to help promote Qatar as a premier sports event destination with our partner Al Shaqab. The event has positioned itself as a flagship international equine event with its world class facilities and support from the highest levels in the country. Year after year, attendance at CHI Al Shaqab has grown, inspiring residents in Qatar as well as attracting riders and equestrian enthusiasts from across the globe,” said Alistair Routledge, President and General Manager for ExxonMobil Qatar.         
“We are also very proud to continue our support for the Al Shaqab Equine Education Center, which is helping bright young students reach their full potential. Initiatives such as this one are the key to building a confident and skilled generation, one that will sustain the future knowledge-based society that His Highness The Emir envisions for Qatar.”
Top ranked riders will be competing at Chi Al Shaqab including Sheikh Ali al-Thani, who represented Qatar and was placed sixth in show jumping at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He also carried Qatar’s flag in the opening ceremony.
Sheikh Ali said: “Al Shaqab has attracted the best global horse riders in show jumping and dressage throughout its previous editions. This has a positive impact and ensures that we portray this prestigious championship, particularly given that the equestrian sport has a very special place within the local community in Qatar.”
Other top-ranked riders who will be competing in the show jumping events include world number one Daniel Deusser of Germany. Deusser, who finished second in last year’s Grand Prix at Chi Al Shaqab, will be joined by second-ranked Christian Ahlmann (Germany), who finished third in the 2016 Grand Prix; and Simon Delestre (France), currently ranked fifth in the world.
Patrik Kittel (Sweden) won both the Grand Prix and the Freestyle test at Al Shaqab last year, and he will look to repeat the feat in 2017. Other dressage riders to watch include Carl Hester (United Kingdom), the world’s number five, and Inessa Merkulova (Russia), ranked sixth.
Several riders will be defending their 2016 crowns in para-dressage, including 1b winner Nicole Den Dulk (Netherlands), II winner Rixt van der Horst (Netherlands), and Philippa Johnson-Dwyer (South Africa), who won the III.
Visitors to the CHI Al Shaqab can look forward to number of exciting activities and an assortment of food and beverages in the Spectator Plaza. The dedicated entertainment zone will feature something for the entire family including interactive video games, virtual reality sets, F1 and horse simulators, face painters, illusionists, pony rides and a daycare centre for toddlers.
A range of cultural activities will also be on offer, including henna painters, falcon handlers and traditional food to enable visitors to experience true Qatari hospitality.
Speaking about the value of the event to the community, Sheikha Asmaa al-Thani, CHI Al Shaqab Marketing Director, said: “In addition to being a notable sporting event, CHI Al Shaqab is an invaluable event for the wider community in Qatar. It is an opportunity to discover a sport to those who are not familiar with it, become enthused about horses capabilities, and enjoy an array of additional activities which will be available during these remarkable three days.”
Machaille al-Naimi, Qatar Foundation President for Community Development, said: “Al Shaqab offers a platform for the community to enhance their knowledge and creativity by providing information about Qatari traditions and cultural heritage. CHI Al Shaqab, one of Qatar’s flagship events, provides opportunities for the Qatari community to participate in a variety of cultural and equestrian activities.”
There are several ticketing options for interested spectators. Adult general admission is QR35, and QR15 for children. VIP tickets include VIP seating on the second floor of the arena, complimentary all-day 5-star catering, exclusive entrance, and VIP valet parking. Single day VIP tickets start from QR1,000 for adults and QR500 for children.
Three-day VIP packages are also available, at QR2,500 for adults and QR1,250 for children.
Tickets can be purchased at www.q-tickets.com.

Schedule of Events
Thursday, 2nd March

9:30 am: Jumping CSI 3*, outdoor arena
10:30 am: Para-Dressage CPEDI 3*, indoor arena
12:30 pm: Jumping CSI 3*, outdoor arena
3 pm: Jumping CSI 5*, outdoor arena
5:45 pm: Jumping CSI 5*, outdoor arena

Friday, 3rd March
8:45 am: Para-Dressage CPEDI 3*, indoor arena
9:30 am: Jumping CSI 3*, outdoor arena
2:45 pm: Jumping CSI 3*, outdoor arena
3 pm: Dressage CDI 5* Grand Prix, indoor arena
4:45 pm: Jumping CSI 5*, outdoor arena
7:30 pm: Jumping CSI 5*, outdoor arena

Saturday, 4th March
8:30 am: Dressage CDI 5* Grand Prix Special, indoor arena
9:00 am: Jumping CSI 3*, outdoor arena
10:30 am: Para-Dressage CPEDI 3*, indoor arena
11:30 am: Jumping CSI 5*, outdoor arena
2:15 pm: Jumping CSI 3*, outdoor arena
2:45 pm: Dressage CDI 5*, indoor arena
4:30 pm: Jumping CSI 5*, outdoor arena




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