Dubai: Omar Al Marzouqi and Abdullah Al Marri made UAE proud with a historic double in the Asian Games individual show jumping championsip in Hangzhou on Friday. Al Marzouqi won the silver and Al Marri the bronze to add to the individual team bronze they won a few days ago to claim three equestrian medals in the Asian Games for the first time.
The team’s youngest rider, Omar Al Marzouqi, riding Dalida VD Zuuthoeve, rode two double clears to make it through to the jump-off, where he rode a tremendous tactical round to finish clear in a time of 42.3s to take the silver. This is Omar’s second major medal after having previously claimed silver at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, aged 15.
Abdulla Al Marri, on James VDO Heihoef, had a more challenging start to the day with penalties in the first round, but recovered well to ride clear over a challenging course in the second round and take bronze following a clear jump-off in 42.45s, just behind teammate Omar Al Marzouqi. Both horses belonge to the Al Shira’aa Grand Prix Jumping Team.
Six amazing rounds
“It wasn’t an easy competition, but the mare jumped six amazing rounds and tried so hard for me, which has paid off with two medals. I’d like to congratulate the whole country, especially President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for his full and continuous support,” said 20-year-old silver medallist Omar Al Marzouqi, who went on to say that “Coming home with three medals is a fantastic achievement.”
Al Marri added: “Honestly, it’s a great achievement for our country. We’re lucky to be part of Al Shira’aa team and the future looks very bright. Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has a big vision, and a great team behind Al Shira’aa, and we’re looking forward to more achievements.”
Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy and Owner of Al Shira’aa said: “I am beyond proud of our riders and team, they have shown determination and horsemanship passing anyone’s expectations. Two of the four riders are self-made and have fought extremely hard to get to this point in their careers. To come home with three medals is a great achievement. To finish with a silver and bronze medal in the individual championship after three tough rounds of jumping is a fantastic result.
“We have reached new highs, and we move forward towards the Olympics with a strong team,” said Samantha Kettle, Assistant Team Manager.
Heading to UK for training
With a team bronze and two individual medals, the team will head to the UK to be based under the watchful eye of international showjumper William Funnel to train with their new Olympic rides before heading back to the UAE for the winter tour.
The UAE’s show jumping season gets underway this weekend with the first National show of the season, before welcoming the International riders to the CSI 2* in Al Ain at the end of November. It’s an action-packed season with competitions running weekly throughout the Emirates, including training shows and national competitions for the grassroots riders, up to CSI5* Internationals, attracting world-class riders from around the globe.