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'Golden' boy Sheikh Rashid-15 Dec 2006 | Gallery >>

The United Arab Emirates flag was flying high when Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum won gold by putting up an impressive display at the 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, on December 14. 2006.

The ride, held at Mesaieed Endurance Course in Doha, featured 44 riders from nine countries including the host country Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Korea, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Syria, and Jordan. The 120-km ride was run in five phases of 30 km, 30 km, 25 km, 20 km and 15 km respectively. Nineteen riders completed the ride.

Beating all opponents, the UAE team won the individual gold and bronze medals. The team also created history by becoming the first quarter of brothers to be in a gold-medal winning team. Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad bin Essa Al Khalifa clinched the second place and won the silver for Bahrain, and UAE rider Sultan bin Sulayem finished in the third place to bag the Bronze.

The six-member UAE endurance team comprised Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Sultan bin Sulayem and Ali Mohammed Al Muhairi.

Sheikh Rashid finished the ride in 5 hours 45 minutes and 49 seconds riding nine-year-old gelding Magic Touch (Nashmi). Sultan bin Sulayem clocked 5 hours 51 minutes and 39 seconds riding10-year-old mare Iknour De La Bire

On the ride day, the UAE team had to be contend with only five riders as only five horses were available after the disqualification of Ali Mohammed Al Muhairi's horse on the previous day.

Sheikh Hamdan's horse was eliminated at the end of the second vet gate. Sheikh Ahmed, riding ten-year-old gelding Kamel Armour finished in the eighth place riding on an average speed of 18.24 kmph in a time of six hours, 34 minutes and 44 seconds

Sheikh Majid clinched the ninth place in the championship riding 14-year old gelding Muneef.

The three brothers, Sheikh Rashid, Sheikh Ahmed and Sheikh Majid, came in with a riding time of 18 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds for the 120 km to win the Team Gold.

UAE Prime Minister and Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, himself an accomplished rider, was present ahead of the ride, to boost the morale of the UAE team. On the successful completion of the ride, HH Sheikh Mohammed presented the Gold medal to the team.

Praise from Mansour

HE Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Emirates Racing Authority, saluted His Highness President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for the great care and encouragement given to sports and youth.

Sheikh Mansour also congratulated HH Sheikh Mohammed on the achievements of his sons in the endurance ride.

"Despite their first appearance in Asian Games, the UAE heroes were able to dominate the endurance ride. This reflects the great importance the UAE attaches to the sports, particularly equestrian and horse racing. I am confident that the champions will carry on to achieve more wins for their country in the future." He also congratulated the UAE medal winners at the Asian Games.

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