Shaikh Hamdan and members of the UAE Team in action during the 120km CISM World Military Endurance Championship at Dubai International Endurance City. Shaikh Hamdan defended the title he won at Bahrain in 2012. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, was a picture of confidence as he won his second CISM World Military Endurance Championship at the Dubai International Endurance City on Thursday.

Riding Aghaab, winner of the HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Endurance Cup in January, Shaikh Hamdan dominated the 70-strong field as he completed the 120km ride in 4 hours, 33 minutes and 36 seconds.

Shaikh Juma Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum, riding Alhambrad Windfaerer, finished a minute behind to take second place while Salman Ali Al Sabri (Qosmik Rio) completed the UAE’s sweep of the top three spots.

Fourth place went to Bachir El Mekhtafi of Lebanon on Persiam El Nefous while Kazakhstan’s Sergey Buikevich was fifth on Oan Armor.

Riders representing 25 countries, competed in the event which was sponsored by Meydan Pillar Partner, IPIC (International Petroleum Investment Company) and organised by Meydan Group’s Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC) alongside the military sport body, CISM (Conseil International du Sport Militaire) and the UAE’s Ministry of Defence.

After a 20-minute delay due to heavy early-morning fog the ride started at approximately 7:20am.

As the riders completed the 40-km first loop, Shaikh Hamdan was already well positioned in second place with a time of 1 hour, 36 minutes. Shaikh Juma was a close third.

However, Shaikh Hamdan stepped up a gear in the second 40-km loop to move into first position as Shaikh Juma moved into second spot.

The UAE pair held their positions in the final two 20-km loops even as Salman Al Sabri progressed to secure third place in the third loop.

Shaikh Hamdan won the inaugural CISM World Military Endurance Championship in December 2012 at Bahrain, while Shaikh Juma was fourth on that day.

Bahrain’s Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Abdul Rahman Mohammad Zayed had finished second and third respectively.

Mohammad Eisa Al Adhab, Deputy General Manager of DEC said: “Dubai Equestrian Club hosts regular high-profile, international endurance events and we were delighted to welcome the best military riders in the world to our city for this prestigious competition.

“The victory of HH Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum highlights the UAE’s long-standing international success in this discipline and we would like to extend our thanks to CISM, the UAE Ministry of Defence and all the participating countries for contributing to the overwhelming success of the event.”

Officials from IPIC were on hand to present the trophies to the winning riders.

“We congratulate HH Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum for winning the CISM World Military Endurance Championship, demonstrating the leading role the UAE takes in international endurance racing,” said Khadem Al Qubaisi, Managing Director IPIC.

“This event underlines IPIC’s commitment to supporting a wide range of sporting activities in the UAE, bringing the achievements of UAE athletes to wider prominence on both a local and international level.”