Qatar Takes Double Gold in Dressage at Arab Games
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DOHA, Qatar, Dec. 23–The host nation took double-gold in dressage at the 12th Arab Games staged every four years and for the first time in Doha, Qatar. Dressage joined as one of 24 sports in 2007.
Qatari riders lived up to expectations when taking dressage team gold ahead of Lebanon’s silver with Iraq winning bronze at the Al-Shaqab Arena.
Ground Jury members Raphael Saleh of France, Juan Carlos Campos of Spain, Fouad Hamoud of Algeria, Hans Christian Mathiesen of Denmark amd Carlos Lopes of Portugal as president, all placed the experienced Rashid Al Marri, who has competed in two Asian Games, at the top on his new ride, Paso Doble, with a score of 68.784 per cent.
Team-mates Mohammed Al Marri and Brentano VD Zuuth and Abdulla Al Marri and Mabruk produced the next two best results to secure team honors while the fourth, and youngest, Qatari competitor, 28-year-old Ahmed Al Badi on Argentino, achieved a mark of 61.946 per cent. This was fractionally less than the 61.975 per cent awarded to Lebanon’s Georges Bitar and Silvan, but there were only three riders on both the Lebanese and Iraqi teams, and the final tally of 58.153 per cent left the Lebanon trailing Qatar by more than eight percentage points.
“This is the first Arab Games gold medal for Qatar,” Rashid Al Marri said. “We are very happy because we missed it in China (at the Asian Games).”
Qatar’s Al Marri family were again well to the fore on the Individual medal podium when Mohammed Al Marri claimed gold, with the judging panel in full agreement as the 20-year-old was awarded the winning score of 70.843 per cent. Rashid settled for silver following a stumble on the final diagonal by Paso Doble, while Farah Al Khojai, riding Mazurka Grafin for the United Arab Emirates, broke the Qatari grip on the medals when clinching bronze with a test that began with great flow but lost some of its impact in the canter movements.
Al Khojai joked afterwards that her horse “almost gave me a heart attack!”
“This was not our best day,” she said, “things went haywire with the music because we had to change it to fit the test. With music you always have to catch up and slow down–but it worked out in the end.”
The newly-crowned individual champion was delighted with his result. “I expected to be in the top three, but not to be in first place, and I’m very happy about that,” Mohammed Al Marri said.