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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Bahrain’s Hamad Al-Janahi wins 160km Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup
ALULA: Bahrain’s Hamad Al-Janahi on Sunday claimed the 2024 Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup’s CEI 3 competition in 8 hours, 27 minutes, 8 seconds, bringing the two-day event to a close.
“Winning here today means so much — it’s such a difficult competition,” said Al-Janahi of the Centro de Estudos Ibericos contest. “Enjoyable, of course, but very tough — tactics throughout are always key and I’m delighted to have won in the end.”
“I’m so proud and I wish to dedicate this victory to our greatest supporter, His Highness Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, and the people of Bahrain,” he added.
Coming in only 10 seconds behind Al-Janahi was Frederico Ferber of Uruguay in 8:27:18.
Placing third was Omar Blanco Rodrigo from Spain in 9:00:26.
Sixty-four elite riders had participated in the grueling 160 km race with the prize pool valued at $1.33 million (SR5 million).
“This race is actually a preparation for the 2026 world championship because you need to have a (multi-year) track record conducted of the 160 km race, it is the most difficult form of endurance,” Ziad Al-Suhaibani, chief sports officer at the Royal Commission of AlUla told Arab News.
The Endurance Cup marked multiple milestones for the Kingdom’s equestrian sector.
“This year is exceptional because we have increased the number of races from one race of 120 km to two races (including) the 160 km race. This is something that has happened for the first time in AlUla and Saudi Arabia,” Al-Suhaibani said.
He added that the 120 km race had a record number of participating countries.
“Fifty (countries took part), and that’s something that we are proud of, that we have broken this record. It is a manifestation of AlUla being a crossroads of culture and diverse backgrounds.”
Al-Suhaibani said another milestone in the 120 km race on Saturday was that a Saudi Arabia rider ended second, which was “the first time in the history of Saudi participation in the international endurance races.”
In partnership with the Saudi Equestrian Federation, AlUla hosted 10 races in 2023.
“It (AlUla’s race calendar) was aiming to prepare the Saudi talents for this race (120 km),” he said. “We have seen the results, one being in the second place, and many out of the almost 70 Saudi riders have finished the race.”
The fifth edition of the cup is a prelude to the 2026 FEI World Endurance Championships to be hosted in AlUla.
“This village (Fursan Village) that we are on now is actually a nucleus of one of the most advanced and integrated villages for equestrians,” Al-Suhaibani said.
The Royal Commission of AlUla has already begun work on the first phase of the expanded village which serves as an extension of Al-Fursan Village.
“Logistics that are involved in the equestrian global events and mega events are beyond just a place, it has to do with the workforce and the preparation, airport logistics, horses and equipment, which is specialized and needs certain way for handling,” Al-Suhaibani explained.
“We are actually aligning and executing our equestrian strategy to ensure that we are ready for that full cycle of the supply chain, having a sustainable and world-class equestrian logistical arrangement which makes a proper equestrian center for AlUla.”
The cup was organized by the Royal Commission for AlUla in partnership with the Federation Equestre International and the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation.
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