By Sports Reporter/Doha
The second season of the Hathab equestrian series will kick off today, with the first of the 12 legs to be held at Qatar Equestrian Federation’s Indoor Arena. A brainchild of HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee, Hathab was a runaway success in its inaugural season.
The series – worth QR1mn in overall prize money – provides an opportunity for young riders from Qatar to gain experience and test themselves against other best talents in the country over a gruelling 12 legs, which is spread over six months.
Nasser al-Ghazali, who clinched the Big Tour class last season, was effusive in his praise of Hathab and its benefits for young riders.
“It was a great season for me. I got to learn so much,” said al-Ghazali, who had secured 177 points to emerge as overall winner. “It was a challenging season with many ups and downs. The competition level was very tough. I am looking forward to coming back stronger this season.”
Hamad Nasser al-Qadi, who had finished behind al-Ghazali, was also impressed by the series and called it a stepping stone to Qatar national team. “I got to learn so much. I may have finished second but it has been a great result. I went about doing well in a step-by-step fashion. I intend to keep up the good work next season also. This is a great series for riders like us who want to be part of the Qatar national squad in the future,” al-Qadi said.
Like last year, the results of each leg will be used in the selection process of riders to represent Qatar in future international competitions. Hathab will be held either at Al Shaqab or Qatar Equestrian Federation, the joint organisers of the series.
The 12-leg equestrian series has also added a new concept to the popular event. To engage community and businesses, a team system has been added to Hathab, where each team will consist of three riders, and each team will present one of the following sponsors: Al Salam (main sponsor), Exxon Mobil, Al Kass, Al Shaqab, QNB, Lusail and Power Steel.
The veterinarian check for horses was held yesterday, followed by a technical meeting for the riders.
The competition will begin today at 3pm with Small Tour and Medium Tour events. Tomorrow, the Future riders, Beginner Riders, Open Class and Big Tour events will be held.
Each rider and horse needs to have a valid license from Qatar Equestrian Federation to be eligible to participate. A maximum of two horses are allowed per rider in each competition.
The series is also aimed at encouraging the involvement of private stables and individual horse owners to grow awareness of horsemanship as part of Qatar’s history and tradition. FEI rules and regulations will be applied during all the competitions, and the series will be broadcast on Al Kass Sports Channel.
3:30pm: Small Tour Table A, One round against the clock 100/115cm. Prize money: QR10,000
Medium Tour Table A, Special two phases 120/130cm: Prize money: QR20,000
9am: Future riders class (for under-12) Optimum Time 70/85cm.
10:30am: Beginner Riders: Table A, One round against the clock 85/100cm
3pm: Open Class Table A, One round against the clock 115/125cm. Prize money: QR15,000
5:30pm: Big Tour Table A, One round against the clock 130/145cm. (6-12 years); QR35,000.
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