By Yash Mudgal/Doha
It’s all set for the bigger and better HH The Emir’s Sword International Showjumping, which will be held at the Outdoor Arena of the Qatar Equestrian Federation (QEF) from February 25 to 27.
Edwina Tops-Alexander of Australia will also make the trip to Doha for the CSI5* event.
The hugely popular event will be run over three days for the first time and, after being upgraded to the CSI5* tier level, will have international participants too.
Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana Company signed a QR500,000 agreement with the Qatar Equestrian Federation for the event yesterday.
The agreement was signed by Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana Company chairman and managing director Hisham bin Saleh al-Hamad al-Mana and QEF president Hamad bin Abdulrahman al-Attiyah.
“We are thankful to our sponsors who support in our endeavours to host such world class events,” al-Attiyah said.
Speaking on the occasion, al-Mana said: “This is a prestigious show jumping event. It gives us great thrill to be a part of this three-day event.”
He added: “Such high profile events help encourage Qatari youth to showcase their riding skills and develop their immense potential.”
“With this sponsorship we seek to build a closer and long-term relationship with the Qatar Equestrian Federation as well as with the community. Qatar is emerging as an exceptional sporting region and equestrian sports are part of Qatar and the Arab world’s heritage.
“HH The Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani is keen to support sports activities in our country and therefore it is our responsibility to support those activities that contribute to the development of our community.
“We hope that our partnership with QEF will open the doors for more opportunities for collaboration and will encourage other entities to follow suit in supporting community service and Qatar heritage, thereby helping Qatar achieve the development goals to which we aspire. We wish every success for QEF at the local and global levels,” al-Mana said.
Qatar’s equestrian team, which has qualified for the Rio Games, is also taking part in the event.
“We are very close to the Olympics and our Rio-bound team will compete against the world’s best riders in the prestigious event, which will be held over three days for the first time,” al-Attiyah said.
Qatar will have a strong presence in the championship with over 60 riders likely to take part.
Points will be awarded to individual riders from the event which will help riders earn a ticket for this year’s Games in Brazil in August.
“For the first time, the event is an international five star affair with ranking points at stake. Out of nine classes, seven are ranking points’ classes and the Sword event is in the Category A so it has big ranking points at stake for those riders who are still hoping for Rio qualification,” al-Attiyah said.
He said the change in status of the championship will help the riders to get more mileage and also for the event.
“We will have riders from Europe other countries, along with riders from the Middle East,” he said.
Qatar team comprises Sheikh Ali bin Khalid al-Thani, Ali al-Rumaihi, Khalid al-Emadi and Bassem Hassan Mohamed.
World No 13 Brazilian-born Luciana Diniz of Portugal, who won Longines Global Champions Tour, last November in Qatar will head the star-studded line up. Morocco rider Abdelkebir Ouaddar, who is looking for his Olympic berth, is also taking part in the event.
Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander, who won the CSI5* Grand Prix of Al Shaqab in Doha last year, will also be participating in the event.
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