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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s first international equestrian competition, the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, wrapped up its first weekend with nail-biting competition and incredible performances from local, regional and international riders vying to book their ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2020 FEI Equestrian World Cup in Las Vegas.
Walking away as the overall victor of the evening was Emirati Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, who was crowned champion of the Big Tour Final presented by the General Sports Authority (GSA). Egyptian equestrian Mohamed Talaat came in first in the medium class as he claimed his third medal in the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, while Jordanian Sara Al Armouti picked up her second honor of the festival as she finished third in the same class.
Day three of the festival kicked off with the Small Tour Final (1.20m) presented by Nova, which witnessed Saudi equestrian Abdullah Al Rajhi take first place with 72.72 seconds in the first round and an impressive 34.63 seconds in the jump-off, which granted him the golden trophy for the class.
Norway’s Morten Alexander Djupvik came in second on the podium riding his stunning Gelding ‘Watch Me’, which marked his second honor of the competition with a time of 36.01 seconds. He was followed by Saudi equestrian Bader Mohammed Alfard in third place, racking up his Diriyah Equestrian Festival honors to an impressive three.
The second round of the day saw Egyptian Talaat emerge victorious in the middle-class international jumping competition (1.45m) with a time of 36.71, while ‘Italian Stallion’ Natale Chiaudani jumped his way to another second-place position with a time of 38.53. Jordanian jockey and the only female winner in the history of Equestrian in Saudi Arabia, Al Armouti came in third, adding to her first-place victory the day before in the international jumping competition against the clock (1.20m).
Closing the action-packed weekend was the grand finale; which saw 18 international equestrians compete for the Big Tour Final (1.40-1.60). The final round undoubtedly left the audience at the edge of their seats as the talented equestrians raced against the clock, breaking not one but two speed records.
The first record was broken by Saudi equestrian, DEF host and and Olympic bronze medal winner Ramzy Al Duhami with 34.79 seconds, which was immediately surpassed by Emirati jockey Al Muhairi and his stunning Mare Cha Cha Cha with an impressive 34.67 seconds, slicing Ramzy’s prior record by a mere .12 of a second.
The fever doesn’t stop here! The first ever international equestrian competition is set to return next weekend, from Dec. 19-21. Saddle up and stay tuned as the Kingdom witnesses equestrians from across the globe compete to secure a qualification at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the Equestrian World Cup and continue to place Saudi Arabia on the map as a state-of-the-art equestrian host. — SG
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