A star-studded contingent of 85 riders from 27 countries around the world have descended upon Doha to compete in the spectacular Commercial Bank CHI Al Shaqab Presented by Longines 2021 event, which will be held at the Longines Arena at Al Shaqab, from this Thursday till Saturday.
CHI Al Shaqab Event Director Omar al-Mannai
In addition, 138 horses have arrived in Qatar’s capital city to take part in the world-class international equestrian competition. Al Shaqab, a member of Qatar Foundation, is organizing CHI Al Shaqab for the eighth time, and the much-anticipated event will again see riders participate in the Olympic disciplines of showjumping, dressage, and para dressage.
Sweden’s Peder Fredrickon, ranked number four in the FEI Longines Jumping Rankings, headlines the riders’ list, while Olympians and former CHI Al Shaqab winners Edwina Tops-Alexander (Australia) and Scott Brash (Great Britain) make welcome returns to Doha. Flying the flag for Qatar will be local rider Sultan Salmen al-Suwaidi (showjumping).
At a press conference held at Al Shaqab Tuesday to launch the event, Omar al-Mannai, Event Director, Commercial Bank CHI Al Shaqab Presented by Longines, and Commercial Manager, Al Shaqab, said: “Once again, this amazing event has managed to attract globally respected champion riders and horses to Doha. They love to compete at Al Shaqab, and it shows in the number of riders who keep returning for the event. Al Shaqab has truly achieved its goal of developing an equestrian competition that other organizers aspire to and talk about, and that elite organizations wish to be a part of. This is highlighted by the quality of sponsors and partners who are associated with the event.”
Commercial Bank is the Title Sponsor; Longines is the Presenting Partner; ExxonMobil is the Main Sponsor; and The Social & Sport Contribution Fund (Daam) is the Supporter of the event.
Joseph Abraham, Group CEO, Commercial Bank, said: “Commercial Bank is pleased to play our part in Qatar’s sporting success story and to support Qatar’s national vision of being a world-class sports venue through our sponsorship of this premier competition.”
Hussein Ali al-Abdulla, EGM & Chief Marketing Officer, Commercial Bank, said: “I’m delighted that Commercial Bank will once again be the Title Sponsor of CHI Al Shaqab. We’re looking forward to being a part of a truly exceptional equestrian competition. Commercial Bank appreciates the importance of sports in the social and economic development of Qatar, and we are committed to supporting Qatar’s vision to be an international sporting hub.”
Saleh al-Mana, Vice President and Director of Government and Public Affairs, ExxonMobil Qatar, said: “We’re pleased to be sponsoring CHI Al Shaqab for yet another year, and to continue to support Al Shaqab’s programs through our partnership, that was established since the center’s very beginning.”
“Our collaboration with Al Shaqab is inspiring leadership and life skills among young people that will be extremely important in their future careers, particularly in relation to the Qatar National Vision 2030.”
Ahmad al-Ali, Program Manager, The Social & Sport Contribution Fund (Daam), said: “Daam is delighted to be involved in this world-class event. Daam’s vision is to make a positive difference in the community by supporting social and sports activities such as CHI AL SHAQAB, in alignment with Qatar National Vision 2030. We believe that Daam’s support and commitment to the development of horsemanship in Qatar will play a role in encouraging young riders to pursue a passion for equestrian sports.”
In addition, Al Shaqab is also proud of its long-term association with Longines, which is the Presenting Partner of CHI Al Shaqab. “This relationship is underscored by the renaming of the competition venue as the Longines Arena at Al Shaqab, which represents the perfect location for the world’s best riders and their horses to compete for the ultimate honor of being crowned a champion at CHI Al Shaqab,” said Omar al-Mannai.
A former international-level showjumper and dressage rider who represented Qatar in the 2006 Asian Games, al-Mannai emphasized the importance of para dressage as a part of Commercial Bank CHI Al Shaqab Presented by Longines.
He said: “Al Shaqab continues to include this Olympic discipline in the event not only because our facilities are geared to meet the needs of the participants but, more importantly, they are wonderful role models and sources of great inspiration. We look forward to seeing Qatari riders competing in this discipline in the future.”
In line with the Ministry of Public Health’s (MoPH) Covid-19 health and safety guidelines, the venue will be restricted to 10 percent of its capacity. Tickets can be purchased at the venue on event days. As a further precautionary measure, there will not be a Festival Area this year. Fans unable to access the venue can still catch all the action, as the event will be broadcast live on Al Kass TV and beIN Sports, while it will also be live-streamed on Al Shaqab’s website, alshaqab.com.
Al-Mannai said: “As an organizer, Al Shaqab is proud of the hard work that has gone into making the event a reality in the midst of a global pandemic. But, more than anything else, the health and safety of participants, spectators, and all involved with the event remains Al Shaqab’s highest priority. Therefore, with guidance and instruction from MoPH, Al Shaqab has ensured that all necessary Covid-19 precautionary measures are in place, and will be strictly enforced.”