Fatima Al Harthi is one of the most promising equestrian endurance riders in the United Arab Emirates.
The 27-year-old was inspired by her mother’s love of sport as a child and took up riding as a result.
Despite having a full-time job, the young Emirati dedicates two hours a day to her training as she looks to make an impact in the field of endurance riding.
It’s a challenging sport which can require the riders to spend upto 15 hours in the saddle with races ranging from 80 kilometres to 120 kilometres but her passion for it is unwavering.
“I really love horses, I’ve always wanted to feel the connection between the horse and the human,” she said.
“Even in the races, I keep focusing on the horse and not just about controlling with the hand. It’s like a secret between the horse and the rider.”
Watch the video above for more on Al Harthi’s story.
* Video courtesy of Abu Dhabi Sports Council
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His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai Government and Dubai Sports Council launched the inaugural Dubai Fitness Challenge on Monday with the aim of motivating residents to take up physical activity and making Dubai the most active city in the world.
This enterprising new Challenge seeks to inspire Dubai’s citizens, residents and visitors to boost their physical activity by committing to a minimum of 30 minutes of daily activity for 30 days through a wide range of fitness activities, sports or exercise.
“Dubai aims to set an example for cities around the world in encouraging citizens to give high importance to physical activity and sports,” HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said:
“We are very keen to spread a culture of fitness since we strongly believe that making physical activity and sports a part of their daily routines will help people significantly improve the quality of their lives. The Dubai Fitness Challenge has been designed to motivate people to pursue an active and energetic lifestyle. This complements other initiatives we are pursuing to transform Dubai itself into the world’s happiest city by providing a positive social environment and the conditions for an enriching lifestyle.”
Running from October 20 to November 18 2017, the flagship Dubai Fitness Challenge is the Emirate’s only multi-activity, city-wide fitness movement to date. Encompassing all forms of activity – from walking, team sports, intense fitness regimes, paddle-boarding and aerobics to football, yoga, cycling and everything in between – this will be an exciting, action-packed and most importantly personally rewarding month of self-discovery, social interaction and enjoyment for everyone of all ages, abilities and fitness levels.
It will also give participants the opportunity to experiment with new and exciting ways to improve their fitness levels, and experience the wide range of sports and exercise programmes that will be showcased across the city that they may not have tried before.
Highlights of the initiative include five weekend fitness carnivals starting at Safa Park on 20 and 21 October; celebrity guests, motivational experts and fitness professionals will make motivational appearances at various locations, dedicated events and live entertainment.
In addition to a packed schedule of daily fitness events, free exercise classes and dedicated community activities in each of Dubai’s neighbourhoods, Dubai Fitness Challenge will also feature a number of existing and highly successful partner events including Dubai Color Run, Dubai Mass Swim and Dubai Schools Fitness Games among others.
His Highness challenged all government organisations, public sector and educational institutions to be the drivers of change. He called on them to take the lead in spearheading the fitness movement and urged the private sector to be equal contributors in this Year of Giving by supporting their employees to participate through simple actions like time allocated for exercise.
HE Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, commented: “With the launch of the Dubai Fitness Challenge, we aim to become the most active city in the world, motivating everyone across all ages, and fitness levels, to start with small steps that will benefit them and their families. With just 30 minutes of physical activity each day for 30 days, we are confident that the city will begin to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle as a choice for life. ”
Encompassing a huge range of sporting events and supported by partners from across the public and private sectors, Dubai Fitness Challenge boasts a packed diary of exciting and inspiring fitness activities throughout the month in locations across the city. With hundreds of events, classes and activities completely free of charge, there’s no excuse not to join in. To register and pledge your commitment to 30 minutes of activity for 30 days, simply visit www.dubaifitnesschallenge.com. Once the challenge starts, be sure to download the Dubai Fitness Challenge App to track your performance, discover events and unlock exciting rewards.
Today we launched the Dubai Fitness Challenge to help make Dubai one of the most physically active cities in the world #Dubai30x30
— Hamdan bin Mohammed (@HamdanMohammed) October 2, 2017
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) October 2, 2017
UAE Team Emirates continued their pursuit of a victory in the latest Italian day races, as Colombian Diego Ulissi finished seventh at the Giro dell’Emilia on Saturday, whilst Italian Simone Consonni came home in ninth at the Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli on Sunday.
Ulissi caught the eye with his performance on the 223km route from Bologna to San Luca, finishing 26 seconds behind winner, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team).
It was a similar story during Sunday’s race as team-mate Consonni was unfortunate to not land a podium finish.
The UAE Team Emirates rider crossed the line with the peloton, just six seconds behind the eventual winner, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team). UAE Team Emirates teammate Federico Zurlo also produced a strong ride to finish in 11th place.
Commenting on his top 10 finish, UAE Team Emirates’ Consonni said: “I tried hard to keep the pace with the front of the group during the last climb on the Zepolino hill. A small group took the lead in the race and I was in the first chasing bunch. We managed to bridge the gap on the final straight, however Luis Leon Sanchez succeeded, winning a solo counter-attack. This is my first year as a pro, I’m starting to understand all the races of the pro calendar and this will be useful for me next season.”
The team remains in Italy this week, with 14 riders set to contest the Tre Valli Varesine on Tuesday 3 October and Milano – Torino on Wednesday 4 October.
The riders set to compete during Tuesday’s 193km course from Saronno to Varese include; Portuguese Rui Costa and Italian Diego Ulissi. The duo will be joined by Croatian Kristijan Durasek, Slovenian Jan Polanc and Italian’s Valerio Conti, Simone Petilli, Edward Ravasi and Oliviero Troia.
The line-up for Sunday’s 186km Milano – Torino race will include; Columbian Darwin Atapuma, Norwegian Vegard Stake Laengen, Slovenian Jan Polanc and Italian’s Simone Consonni, Matteo Bono, Filippo Ganna, Manuele Mori and Oliviero Troia. Both Polanc and Atapuma are expected to put in strong performances for UAE Team Emirates.
Commenting on the upcoming races, Sports Director Marco Marzano commented: “In this final part of the season, Rui Costa and Ulissi are among the riders who we can count on being in good shape. If the final in the Tre Valli Varesine is ridden intensely, they will have the chance to fight for a significant result. The route for the Milano – Torino could offer Atapuma and Polanc the chance to leave their mark.”
Ahead of Tuesday’s race, UAE Team Emirates’ Rui Costa added: “I will be participating in the Tre Valli Varesine for the first time. It’s a race that has seen victories by top class cyclists.”
Commenting on his expectations for the races, Jan Polanc said: “The double climb on the Colle di Superga in the final part of the route makes the Milano-Torino very exciting. I’ve had a very busy season, but I hope my legs still have enough strength to push me towards a good performance.”
— @UAE-TeamEmirates (@TeamUAEAbuDhabi) September 30, 2017