Thursday, August 30, 2007
Sultan’s Cup Terengganu Endurance Challenge 2007 launched
There was a touch of pageantry fit for a King at the launch of the Sultan’s Cup Terengganu Endurance Challenge 2007 as the organisers used a delightful little pageant to launch the event. It told the story of how the Sultan’s Cup Challenge had been conceived and the challenge made to the rest of the world. The call has truly gone out to all corners of the world to find the best endurance horse and rider. With the 2008 World Endurance Championships set to be held in Terengganu, the best in the world are taking up the challenge from this November. Participants from sixteen countries will take part in this CEI 3-Star ride over 160 km. The riders and their horses are expected from Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Qatar, UAE, USA and Malaysia. They will start to arrive in October and will have a month’s acclimatisation before the event on 9th to 11 November.
Twenty-five foreign participants and fifteen Malaysians are expected to take part in the 160 km event. The horses will arrive at KLIA on specially chartered and commercial flights and will be transported to Terengganu by the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The event serves as second trial for the FEI World Endurance Championships which will be held in November 2008. The FEI requires a completion rate of 40% at this event. The organisers realize that Malaysia is facing some international pressure to have the WEC2008 to be held in another country. Nevertheless they are confident of achieving the required completion rate to satisfy the FEI. With an average speed of just 10 km/h, they should be quite safe. The Sultan’s Cup in 2006, also over 160 km saw a completion rate of 57% of an entirely local field. Facilities are being upgraded at the Terengganu International Endurance Park (TIEP) including infrastructure for a full veterinary hospital with surgery facilities, under the direction of Dr Balakrishna Polanaidu. YBhg Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Nor, Vice-Chairman of Yayasan DiRaja Sultan Mizan (YDSM) voiced a hope that “through our efforts to organise world class equestrian events like the Sultan’s Cup Terengganu Endurance Challenge and the continued growing interest in the sport, we can ignite a love and interest in horses.”
The official launch was graced by Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah, who is the patron of the event.
His Majesty, already a World Class endurance rider who has already earned the first part of the required Certificate of Capability to compete in next year’s WEC, will be competing and hoping for another CoC finish. Other VIP guests who attended the event this morning were Yang Teramat Mulia Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra ibni Sultan Ismail Petra, who is the Tengku Mahkota of Kelantan and Y.A.B. Dato’ Seri Hj Idris Jusoh, Menteri Besar of Terengganu.