09.28.10

UAE Grabs Gold Medal At Endurance World Championships, presented by Meydan

Posted in 2010 Games, Disciplines, Endurance, Results, World Equestrian Games at 7:57 am by Press Release

Lexington, Ky., Sept. 27 — After their riders finished third, sixth and seventh individually in the Endurance World Championships, presented by Meydan, the United Arab Emirates today accepted their team gold medals in the Main Stadium at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

The UAE team’s total time (23:53:36) was nearly 55 minutes faster than silver medalist France (24:49:46), while Germany surprised the world by claiming the bronze medal (25:34:16). It was Germany’s first medal in endurance at a World Equestrian Games.

The UAE team members were HE Sheikh Hamdan Mohammed Al Maktoum, HE Sheikh Majid Mohammed Al Maktoum, and Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum. They had trained in Newmarket, England, to prepare for the World Games, because the grass training gallops and the climate there are far more similar to Lexington than Dubai, said Jaume Punti-Dachs, one of the team’s trainers.

The French team members were Sarah Chakil, Virgnie Atger and Cecile Miletto Mosti.

The German team members were Gabriela Foster, Sabrina Arnold and Belinda Hitzler.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the individual silver medalist, elected not to be a member of his country’s team for these World Games. He said before the ride began that he’d made this decision because it was “in the best interest of the team.”

Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton, the individual gold medalist, also trained her mount, Nobby, in Newmarket since Punti-Dachs is her husband. She gave birth to their daughter, Maria Punti-Alvarez, just seven weeks ago. “I feel no different today than after any other ride,” she said. “The only difference was that I could not sleep all night because I had to feed the baby.”

With a 55-percent completion rate (55 finishers of 100 starters)—the highest completion rate ever for an endurance championship at the World Games— riders and team officials hailed the 100-mile course around the Kentucky Horse Park as a great success. The course crossed land owned by 26 different owners and passed through 256 gates, all of which had to be manned by officials or volunteers to control equine, pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Riders wore global-positioning-system tracking devices throughout the race, allowing spectators to follow them on television screens throughout the Kentucky Horse Park. “It was not part of the official timing or scoring system, but I think it worked well to keep the spectators interested in following the race as it progressed,” said endurance discipline manager Emmett Ross.

Hanaba du Bois, the horse ridden by Jean-Philippe Frances of France to fourth place, earned the best-condition award, determined this morning by the ride’s veterinarians.

About Meydan – One dynamic location, many possibilities

Meydan City is the brainchild of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. It is the culmination of his vision to create not just the ultimate venue for horseracing, but also an integrated city that is sustainable, environmentally responsible and also one that positions Dubai at the centre of the competitive global business stage.

Meydan City will feature four distinct sub-districts – Meydan Racecourse; where the Meydan Grandstand takes centre stage and is home to the Dubai World Cup, Meydan Metropolis; a series of state-of-the-art business parks, Meydan Horizons; where business towers intermingle with luxury waterfront developments, and Meydan Godolphin Parks; with its distinctive Godolphin Tower created in the image of a thoroughbred and also where the shopping destination Signature Mall is located.

Meydan Grandstand and Racecourse can accommodate a capacity of over 60,000, and features fine-dining restaurants, covered car parking for 8,600, the Meydan Museum and Gallery, an IMAX Theatre, the Meydan Boathouse, and the world’s largest and longest trackside LED panel. The Dubai Racing Club, Emirates Racing Authority and Meydan Freezone Falcon Commercial Park Freezone offices are located here. Meydan Racecourse district will also feature a 9-hole golf course, showroom district and luxury residential villas to rival those in any cosmopolitan city.

Meydan Grandstand also houses the world’s first five-star trackside hotel, Jumeirah The Meydan. With 285 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites, a Rooftop Infinity pool, a variety of F&B establishments, business, conference, banqueting facilities and a spa and fitness centre, most of these facilities offering stunning views of the racecourse.

The seamlessly interconnected indoor and outdoor spaces at Meydan Grandstand and Racecourse provide excellent venues for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions. These include unique facilities such as the Sky Bubble, which accommodates up to 4,500 guests, 72 Grandstand Corporate Suites with full track views, the Parade Ring, Receiving Barns, an indoor food court, extensive infield space, and the Apron Views.

With its Free zone status geared to businesses who are looking to be at the gateway to Europe and Asia, Meydan City is one location that offers a myriad of investment opportunities and experiences, delivering a perfect platform for business, entertainment and lifestyle.