Dubai: The three-day Dubai Show jumping Championship CSI5* World Cup Arab League opened on Thursday with a UAE winner in the CSI2* Emirates Equestrian Centre Two Phase Class, featuring 52 riders from 13 countries.
Abdul Rahman Ahmad Ameen, 20, aboard a horse five years his junior, Coranda, took top honours and the prize money of more than Dh40,000.
Speaking later he said he was thrilled to win before a home crowd.
“I am very happy to win the opening class of the Dubai International show, it was a very fast class, and I tried my best, especially since this show was in our country,” he said. “I wanted to raise the UAE flag and I am happy I could.”
The internationally acclaimed Dubai Show Jumping Championship (DSJC) has been awarded five-star status, and is now a CSI5*W event: the top category of competition in show jumping worldwide.
This year there is a significant increase in prize money on offer — the pool is now worth Dh2 million — making the stakes even higher for all those involved.
The second class of the day, the CSI2* Azizi Speed Stakes was also won by a 20 year old, this time from Syria. Kotayba Aldughli finished in a winning time of 65.10 seconds aboard 12-year-old Gucci Team Spirit. The pair left behind a field of 20, featuring competitors from 11 countries.
The rider said: “It was a speed class, and I was the fastest of the group. Of course I am very happy to have won this class. It means a lot to me and for my country. It is a proud win for us, and I qualified for the Grand Prix (2*) on the final day, so I hope I perform well there too.”
The three-day festival is highlighted by the Longines — FEI World Cup Qualifier, which is a qualifier for the Dubai Grand Prix, the Gulf News Cup and the newly added Azizi Golden Cup, one of four add-ons to the programme, taking the total number of classes up to 11 from seven last year. This includes six CSI5* classes, and five CSI2* classes.
The first event on Friday will be the Emirates Equestrian Centre Speed Stakes at 8am. The feature class CSI5* W Azizi Golden Cup is scheduled for 4pm.
The programme on Saturday will begin at 9am with another addition to the programme, the Dubai Equestrian Club Grand Prix.
A distinctive festive atmosphere enveloped the EEC facility with food trucks, bouncy castles, pony rides and face-painting stations offering something for everyone.
Azizi Developments joined long-time EEC partners and fellow Meydan Pillar Partners Emirates Airline, Longines and Gulf News in supporting this international competition.