15th Asian Games, Doha (QAT): Endurance 

14 Dec 2006

The flag of the United Arab Emirates flew high yesterday in Doha when the UAE team composed of four Al Maktoum brothers took the teams gold of the first Asian Games Endurance ride after a gruelling 120km race through the Qatar desert (total riding time 18:55:23). The eldest brother, HH Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum won the individual gold riding the 9-year old gelding Magic Glenn, also known as Nashmi or 'The Brave' in Arabic (total riding time 5:45:49; average speed 20.82 km/h).

"I'm just over the moon,” HH Sheikh Rashid exclaimed as he finished. “The horse is very good. It was fresh till the end.”

The silver, both team and individual, went to the representatives of Bahrain (total riding time for the team 12:11:53, one eliminated and one retired rider). The silver medallist HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, riding Shar Rushkin crossed the finishing line just over three minutes after the winner (total riding time 5:48:53; average speed 20.64 km/h).

HH Sheikh Nasser, who had chosen to ride the last loop alongside HH Sheikh Rashid, told reporters upon arrival: "I need a massage."

The home Qatari team took the team bronze with a total riding time of 12:49:26 and Dubai businessman Sultan Bin Sulayem, starting as an individual rider for the UAE on the 10-year old mare Iknour de la Bire, took the individual bronze (total riding time 5:51:39, average speed 20.47 km/h).

Time-keeping proved to be a problem at this first Asian Games endurance ride and, after the first two loops, the ground jury and their team of stewards resolved to register the times manually by stopwatch.