Albon, Sargeant confident of strong finish to season for Williams in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Albon, Sargeant confident of strong finish to season for Williams in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Albon, Sargeant confident of strong finish to season for Williams in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Saudi showjumping championships prepares international equestrians for World Cup finals

RIYADH: The three-star category of the Saudi Equestrian Federation Cup for Show Jumping began on Thursday and ended on Saturday evening.

Ghalia Almousa, a showjumper representing Saudi Arabia, shared with Arab News the significance of the event for riders like herself.

“This is the second international of the season. It is a three-star rank show. And it is also a qualifier for the (FEI) World Cup.

It is also preparation for us riders for the upcoming four- and five-star show,” she said.

The three-star competition consists of 13 rounds and features 130 participants from 18 countries.

The four-star and five-star categories are scheduled to take place in the coming weeks.

The Saudi showjumping championships have provided the opportunity for international riders such as British showjumper Barry Dove to experience the Kingdom for the first time.

“Everyone I’ve met since I’ve been here has been really nice and welcoming, and the sport’s great and the big classes are really competitive and big,” he told Arab News.

Dove trains Saudi jockey and showjumper Nasser Al-Shawaf while also taking care of his horses on his English farm.

“He asked me to come here and help him with the start of the season with his older horses. So that’s why I’m here. And I’m lucky enough to ride in one of the shows today as well,” he said.

Spotted at the event was top Kuwaiti rider Ali Al-Khorafi, who is gearing up for a busy season ahead.

“After today, we have the next two shows in the CSI fourth star in two weeks. And then after that, the five star,” Al-Khorafi told Arab News.

“And then we ship our horses to Kuwait for the three CSI there. And after that we continue to the league in Qatar to compete as well.” 

Al-Khorafi believes the Gulf nations are making a mark in equestrian sports.

“In the last Asian Games, the countries who won the gold was Saudi Arabia as a team, and the second was Qatar, the third was Emirates and the fourth was Kuwait.

“So that’s really amazing that you see these countries already improving a lot in that sport. And hopefully we see that as well in the Olympic and world equestrian games,” he said.

Hosted in the Jump Saudi arena in Janadriyah, Riyadh, the tournament paid homage to local art and heritage.

The obstacle fences, inspired by Najdi architecture and artistic houses of Jeddah, added a distinctive Saudi touch.

Outside of the main grounds were pop-up stores featuring homegrown clothing and perfume brands as well as a food court.

Saudi equestrian clothing line, Mehmaz, was among the small businesses at the village.

Mehmaz, Arabic for spurs, was founded less than a year ago by Shrouq bin Muharib, an avid horse rider.

“My customers are equestrian only. So, the perfect place for me to be is in such events. This is my first time and of course it’s not going to be the last,” she told Arab News.

This weekend’s showjumping competition was hosted by the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation.

Next month, the federation will host Jump Saudi, an elite international show jumping competition.

In April 2024, the federation will make history as they are expected to host the FEI World Cup Finals, the first time the event will be held in the Middle East.

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