Doha: The UAE dominated the endurance riding competition at the 12th Arab Games in Doha, winning all three individual medals as well as team gold yesterday.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was in attendance to watch his son, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and the President of Dubai Sports Council, help the UAE team to victory. Shaikh Hamdan was awarded the silver medal after finishing alongside Yousuf Al Beloushi, who claimed gold. The bronze was won by Sultan Al Maamary. They were joined by Ali Ganem Al Merri, Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri and Mohammad Ahmad Al Subose in the UAE team that swept aside all competition in the 120km endurance ride.
Al Beloushi finished the first stage leading the pack riding Shardell Prince Valiant in 1hr 11min 34sec, followed by Shaikh Hamdan on Muhannad in 1:11.48, Al Maamary in third on Dudleydick TE in 1:12.06 and fourth-placed Al Merri on EO Rakam in 1:12.09.
Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, from Bahrain, placed fifth on Picaflor in 1:12.16, while Al Jahouri was ninth on Lourizon Frost in 1:14.04 and Al Subose 10th on Indian Eskalonik in 1:16.36.
The arrival of all six UAE riders among the first 10 competitors at the end of the first stage showed their intentions to defend the gold medals Shaikh Majid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his teammates won in the last Arab Games in Cairo four years ago.
Al Beloushi continued his leadership in the remaining stages of the ride, while Shaikh Nasser from Bahrain climbed to second place in the fourth stage, leaving Shaikh Hamdan back in fourth behind Al Maamary.
But Shaikh Hamdan showed his outstanding capabilities in the final stage, when he shot up the field to finish at the same time as Al Beloushi, followed by Al Maamary.
"I am overjoyed and I can't express my feelings at this moment." Al Beloushi told Gulf News after his victory. "It is the first time I represent my country and I ended winning a gold medal.
"I dedicate this medal to President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who has always supported us and encouraged us to do our best for our country, to Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad, whose directions during the ride helped me to win the gold medal, and to Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his unlimited support to the sport and the riders."