UAE's Omar Abdulaziz Al Marzouqi wins show jumping silver at Youth Olympic Games

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Omar Abdulaziz Al Marzouqi of UAE (left)

Omar Abdulaziz Al Marzouqi made history as he sealed the UAE’s first-ever Youth Olympic Games medal when he won silver in the show jumping event.

Al Marzouqi finished second in Buenos Aires, behind champion Giacomo Casadei of Italy and ahead of Honduras’ Pedro Espinosa.

Al Marzouqi dedicated his unique and first achievement to the UAE leadership and people

“I take this opportunity to convey my thanks and appreciation to the H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of UAE, H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE’s Armed Forces,” he said.

Thanks are also due to the UAE rulers and crown princes for their unlimited support that always gives us the motivation to achieve the best results at all international forums. 

I would also like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the National Olympic Committee, steered by H.H Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, for its support to UAE citizens in all sporting events. Thanks to Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairwoman of Fatima bunt Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, President of Abu Dhabi & Al Ain Women’s Club for her efforts in supporting show jumping and following up with all matters related to riders in this sport.”

He added: “The competition was not easy. 30 riders from 30 different countries took part in the showjumping events. It was a huge pressure and challenge to all riders. Most riders were from leading schools in the game, and the form was praised by attendants

“I have done my best in the team events, but was unlucky. But thanks God, I made the difference in the individual event and bagging the silver medal, the first in the history of the UAE participation in these youth games. I consider it just a beginning for more to come in the summer Olympic Games in the name of the UAE.”

Abdul Aziz Al Marzouqi, the coach of the UAE national showjumping team was thrilled with the first UAE achievement.

“I congratulate our leaders on this unique achievement of the talented rider Omar Abdul Aziz Al Marzooqi, the youngest rider in the completion and the second youngest rider in the Games. Omar exhibited his talents in no uncertain terms against the top competitors from the world over,” he said.

“He led the individual events most of the time, but the Italian rider managed to clinch the gold medal as he was a late participant and has a better chance. Ultimately our efforts were rewarded with themedal for our country which has spared no effort to support us.”

“Taking part in the second strongest Olympic Games for youngsters and making such an achievement is indicative of genuine talents of this budding talent. We have gained a lot of experience which was culminated by a medal and raising the flag of the nation. I would wish to thank Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bintHaza Al Nahyan for the generous support as well as the NOC and the Equestrian Federation.”

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Bentabl leads home Godolphin one-two in Caulfield Stakes

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Benbatl led home a Godolphin one-two in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes.

The four-year-old is being lined up for a crack at Winx in the Cox Plate and this success, under Pat Cosgrave, will raise expectations they can give the mare a race.

Bin Suroor said: “He needed this race. He has been in very good form and he will now go to the Cox Plate.

“That has given us confidence for the Cox Plate. It has been our target since January when he was in Dubai.

“But Winx is in the race, she is the best of the best.

“She is a superstar, I have a lot of respect for her.”

It was a one-two for Godolphin, with Charlie Appleby’s Blair House in second, while O’Brien’s Cliffs Of Moher flew home to finish just out of the places.

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Despite all the money in the world The Everest is still just another horse race

Alex Broun 12/10/2018
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The Opera House adorned with the logo of The Everest.

Although many sporting organisations in the last few years may have tried, you cannot buy history.

History, in the sporting arena, has to be earned and often the hard way. Try telling that to the gang behind The Everest.

The brain child of the ambitious Racing New South Wales (NSW) chief executive Peter V’landys, The Everest is the richest turf race in the world, as they will keep telling anyone who will listen.

(However, the richest race in the world is of course the UAE’s own Dubai World Cup, which is run on Meydan’s dirt track in March).

The race may only be in its second year and too young to be even given Group status, but that hasn’t stopped V’landys, along with his cohorts at Destination NSW, trying to big it up as the biggest thing since… well since horse racing began in Babylon over two and half thousand years ago.

The Everest had an odd format known as “slot racing”.

The way it works is there are 12 slots for the race which are open to be purchased for AUD$600,000 per slot (around Dh1.5million).

Strapper Christine Duffy tries to control last year's winner Redzel.

Strapper Christine Duffy tries to control last year’s winner Redzel.

Whoever buys the slot then teams up with a horse owner to field a runner. So, for example, last year the syndicate of 30 owners of Redzel struck a deal with slotholder James Harron, owner of a bloodstock agency, to use his slot to enter their horse, which went on to win the race.

This year Redzel, again heavily favoured to win, is running in the slot of Yulong Investments established by Chinese businessman Yuesheng Zhang, which has emerged as a major player in the Australian thoroughbred racing and breeding industry in recent years.

Harron has Vega Magic in his slot, the David Hayes trained six-year-old finished an unlucky runner-up to Redzel last year.

The slot system supposedly adds another level of intrigue to the event but the main reason may be that with 12 slotholders putting up a combined AUD$7.2 milliion, Racing NSW only has to stake the remaining AUD$5.8million of the AUD$13million purse, which if we haven’t pointed out is the richest turf race in the world!

The Everest likes to make a lot of noise about the money, last year even distributing tawdry publicity shots of the then AUD$10million prize money arranged around the trophy, which depicts a horse climbing Everest, the mountain that is.

The reason why Racing NSW make so much fuss about the cash is they need a point of difference from Australia’s number one horse race, “the race that stops the nation”, the Melbourne Cup, which this year will be run on November 6, less than a month after its noisy northern neighbour.

But whereas the Melbourne Cup, which has been running for over 150 years, is a true test of horse, jockey and trainer stretching over two-miles (3,200 metres) The Everest is a little more than a lottery as it is run as a sprint over less than one mile, 1,200 metres. (The Dubai World Cup splits the two at 2,000).

The horse-on-mountain Everest trophy.

The horse-on-mountain Everest trophy.

Redzel’s winning time last year was just 68 seconds, which worked out at about AUD$150,000 per second (almost Dhs400,000).

But The Everest isn’t about who is the better horse, jockey or trainer – it’s about Sydney trying to get one up over Melbourne in the ongoing spat between Australia’s two biggest cities. The only surprise is they didn’t call it The Sydney Cup.

To give a bit of that history, when the states united to become the Federation of Australia in 1901, Melbourne or Sydney could not agree who should be the capital of the new commonwealth, so they built a new city in between (Canberra) which became the capital.

117 years later, the rivalry is just as intense with Sydneysiders following NRL while Melburnians (and the rest of Australia) barracking for AFL.

And it has to be said the Sydney locals did all they could to try and put The Everest on the map last year with 33,512 race fans flocking to Royal Randwick, which (as they quickly pointed out) was the biggest crowd at the track this century. (All 17 years of it.)

But all the hyperbole in the world, and there has been a mountain of it, is not going to give The Everest the one thing it wants more than anything – class – and maybe Group 1 status.

It’s also so desperate to make it self seem important that it drew the ire of thousands of Sydneysiders who turned up at the Opera House earlier this week to try to stop the barrier draw being projected on the sails of the famous UNESCO listed building.

The Opera House, no matter what Australian conservative shock jock Alan Jones may say, is an Australian icon – unlike The Everest.

The final damning evidence for the richest turf race in the world is that one of the top slot holders Chris Waller, the trainer of record breaker Winx, and the man training his runner Brave Smash, Darren Weir, won’t even be in Sydney on race day.

Guess where they’ll be: in Melbourne, at the Caulfield Guineas, which unlike The Everest is a Group 1 race.

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