Abu Dhabi: Endurance sport suffered a major loss when Vijay Moorthy, the former Head of Endurance and currently the Technical Advisor at the Emirates Equestrian Federation, passed away in Pune, India on Tuesday morning.
The 61-year-old Moorthy, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about a year ago, breathed his last at a Pune hospital after a multiple-organ failure, according to his daughter Vijaya Moorthy.
He was buried on Tuesday afternoon, leaving behind his wife Phalguni, son Raja Moorthy and daughter Vijaya.
Moorthy, who first joined the then UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation as a Handicapper for thoroughbred horses, later became the head of Racing Department before he took a keen interest in endurance and went on to head the Endurance Department at the UAE Federation.
He was one of the pillars of endurance sport both in the UAE and in the world and officiated at major international endurance rides. Vijay was one of the members of the FEI (World Equestrian Federation) Task Force set up in January 2009 to formulate endurance rules and regulations.
Aziz Sheikh, Endurance Chief at the Federation, who has been working with Moorthy since 1986, said, "We were together in Bombay/Pune until 1992 and he came first here in November 92 and brought me here in April 93. Ever since we have worked together and he was the first Handicapper here before the ERA was formed."
"Very straightforward in his approach, Moorthy maintained a high standard and applied the rules uniformly. He always used to tell me 'Rules are like a bible for us'. We will miss him and his helpful nature," Aziz said.
Esmaeel Mohammad, who trained the UAE endurance horses when they won the first European Open team gold in 1999 and has chalked out many medal-winning horses for the UAE riders said, "Vijay has done a lot for endurance in the UAE and most UAE riders and trainers will miss him. He laid great emphasis in regulating the sport."
Former FEI Endurance Chief Dr Hallvard Sommerseth, who is now Head of Veterinary dept at the EEF, said, "I dad the privilege of traveling to many countries with Vijay, apart from officiating in the local endurance championships. An endurance expert of international repute, Vijay Moorthy was very fair, gracious, polite and friendly in his judgments and he never worked as a 'policeman.'"
"The Emirates Equestrian Federation he called his home. He will be dearly missed," the Norwegian said.
Dr. Surendra Babu Bobby, Veterinarian doctor at the Dubai Equine Hospital said, "I know Vijay as a little humble man who joined the Bangalore Turf Club in 1984. We came closer after we started working together in the UAE. His acumen, dedication and sacrifice for the development of endurance sport have no parallels and I salute him for that. A man of great principles, he practiced what he preached."