By Sahan Bidappa/Doha
Faleh Suwead al-Ajami scooped the biggest win of his career as he won the feature event at the HH The Amir’s Sword Equestrian championship yesterday.
A dark horse going into the Big Tour 140/150cm class, al-Ajami created a upset of sorts as he guided 12-year-old grey gelding Carport to a stunning victory at the Qatar Equestrian Federation’s outdoor arena. While all eyes were on Awad Alqahtani and Mubarak Yousuf al-Rumaihi, who had triumphed on day one and two respectively, al-Ajami stole the thunder in the biggest class of the championship.
The 32-year-old proved to be a formidable combination with Carport as the pair galloped the long course and jumped clear with a faultless round, stopping the clock at an impressive 78.41 seconds. While the other riders tried to beat al-Ajami’s time, they faltered by picking up faults on a difficult course. Awad Alqahtani on 17-year-old stallion Cassander Van Het Bremhof started on a right note by cutting corners steadily, but the duo also picked up eight faults along the way. Alqahtani’s timing was 82.14secs, which was just good enough for him to settle for runner-up place. Salmeen Sultan al-Suwaidi was third with Cantaro 32 in 82.55 secs, the four faults he incurred also dashing his hopes of a victory.
Mubarak Yousuf al-Rumaihi and his favourite mount, the 17-year-old chestnut gelding Vivaldi K, were off colour on the day as they finished a disappointing fifth in the 8-rider field. Al-Rumaihi and Vivaldi K committed a whopping 20 faults and were nowhere close to challenging for the podium.
For al-Ajami, who began horseback riding as a hobby before a natural flair for the sport convinced him to compete professionally, it was a stuff of dreams.
“I was honoured to receive the Golden Sword from the Amir, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. This is the biggest triumph of my career as I had never won such a prestigious title before. I hope to put in hard work and continue to improve my performances in future competitions also,” said a delighted al-Ajami, who took home QR50,000 and a brand new car.
After the biggest win of his career, al-Ajami has his eyes set on representing Qatar at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He has previously competed at the 2010 World Championships and Asian Games, and achieved a silver medal in the team event at the 2011 Pan Arab Games.
“My aim is to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. But first I have to do well in the qualification competition. I want to thank the Qatar Equestrian Federation for doing a great job in hosting this event. Everything is done professionally by the QEF. I would also like to thank the QEF President Hamad Abdulrahman al-Attiyah, Secretary-General Darwish Badr and Tournament Director Ali al-Rumaihi for their guidance over the last few years. The QEF continues to back young riders that helps them in improving their performances,” al-Ajami said.
Meanwhile, Cyrine Cherif took her second win in two days after the French rider stormed to victory in the Medium Tour 125/135 class. Cherif and 13-year-old bay Gerlin Vd Waterkant flew around the course to finish in 76.90secs for a comfortable victory, which gave her QR9,625 in prize money.
Mohamed Saeed Haidan on Quick Step came second, while Jaber Rashid al-Amri on Canavaro De Muze (ET) took the final podium place.
In the Small Tour 110/120cm class, Mohamed al-Ghazali astride Maradonna 25 took the top honours, with the pair coming home in 64.16secs.
The second and third place went to (Fernhill Friendly Touch) and Hussain Saeed Haidan (Belucci Van ‘T Vleminkhof) respectively.
QEF president al-Attiyah pleased with Amir’s Sword Championship’s success
Meanwhile, QEF President Hamad bin Abdulrahman al-Attiyah, also Chairman of the Organising Committee, thanked the Qatar National Bank (QNB) Group for their continuous support. Al-Attiyah said that the last day of HH the Amir’s Sword Championship 2019 produced a great competition.
“We have witnessed a high level of competition on three days. All the riders wanted to be on the podium and they showed their quality this weekend. Many of them are preparing for the qualification tournaments for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo,” he said.
He also thanked all the committees which worked towards making the championship a huge success. He also appreciated the cohesion between QEF and Al Shaqab for all equestrian activities under the guidance of the country’s wise leadership.
Amir’s Sword Equestrian championship results
Big Tour, Table A, One round against the clock FEI Art. 238.2.1, Height 140/150 cm, Prize Money QR50,000 + Car
1. Faleh Suwead al-Ajami; Horse: Carport; Faults: 0; Time: 78.41secs; Prize money: QR14,000 + car
2. Awad Alqahtani; Cassander Van Het Bremhof; 8; 82.14secs; QR11,500
3. Salmeen Sultan al-Suwaidi; Cantaro 32; 4; 82.55 secs; QR8,750
Medium Tour, Table A, One round against the clock FEI Art. 238.2.1, Height 125/135 cm, Prize Money QR35,000
1. Cyrine Cherif. Gerlin Vd Waterkant; 0; 76.90secs; QR9,625
2. Mohamed Saeed Haidan; Quick Step; 0; 75.86secs; QR7,000
3. Jaber Rashid al-Amri; Canavaro De Muze (ET); 0; 72.12; QR5,250
Small Tour, Table A, One round against the clock Height 110/120 cm; Prize Money: QR20,000
1. Mohamed al-Ghazali; Maradonna 25; 0; 64.16secs. QR5,000
2. Ali Mohamed al-Marri; Fernhill Friendly Touch; 0; 61.57secs; QR4,000
3. Hussain Saeed Haidan; Belucci Van ‘T Vleminkhof; 8; 63.09; QR 3,000
Dressage Test, Level 1, Prize Money QR10,000
1. Saeed Hamad al-Rashdi; Horse: Graffiti De Lully CH; 71.667 points; QR2,800
2. Jessica Waldon; Lusso Del Castegno; 70.556; QR2,300
3. Amna Ahmad al-Saffar; Rythm; 68.519; QR 1,750
Dressage Test, Level 2, Prize Money QR5,000
1. Martina Stiel; Santa Cruz PHZ ; 69.423. QR1,250
2. Iris Nijboer; Piet Mondrian (GB); 69.231. QR 1,000
3. Mohamed Salem al-Marri; Gin Tonic Van De Kranenburg. 68.654. QR750
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