13 Oct 2017 - 0:21
All eyes on young riders as Al Shaqab Arena hosts round 1 of ‘Hathab’ series
By Rizwan Rehmat / The Peninsula
Qatar is hoping the QR1m ‘Hathab’ showjumping series, set to kick off today Al Shaqab Arena, would pave way for young talent in the country to become accomplished riders in the future.
The 12-leg series will start today with competitions scheduled in the ‘Small Tour’ and the ‘Open Class’ categories, organisers Al Shaqab and Qatar Equestrian Federation (QEF) said yesterday.
“This is a different series than the ones we have had before. ‘Hathab’ will help the young riders to focus more and in a better way. This series would even help them to go for new horses should they need to do so,” Event Director Ali Al Rumaihi told The Peninsula yesterday.
“For the experienced riders of course all of this helps in preparing for bigger events like international competitions or even the Olympic Games. But for youngsters, you start small to prepare for the big things. That’s how you do it. That’s our message to the young riders,” Al Rumaihi said.
“We have planned various classes in the new series so that certain age bracket riders get to learn the right way. This will be the first experience for the young riders and in the coming years you will see polished riders,” he added.
Al Rumaihi, a member of Qatar’s first Olympic Games squad at the Rio show last year, said ‘Hathab has been planned to boost the confidence of young riders.
“Just by announcing the details of this new series we have attracted so many riders. Everyone involved with jumping and dressage will come in and compete,” Al Rumaihi said.
“Live television and prize money ups the ante. The series will also help the judges and organisers to get a feel of international competitions. The 12-leg series is an opportunity to improve for everyone associated with showjumping,” he added.
Al Rumaihi said the new series is the result of extensive research of showjumping events held in Qatar the last few years.
“Let’s say that every country has a series of national shows. We had few series but they weren’t really structured that well. But with this year, we have structured everything with great detail,” Al Rumaihi said.
“It will be better in the coming years. We have set this up so that young riders can focus the right way with regards to his or her horse or how they would want to compete.
“Now the riders know the dates of the competitions since they have the schedule with them.
“They know what kind of shows are on and what the prize money is,” he said.
While announcing the details of the new series last Monday, Commercial Manager Al Shaqab Omar Al Mannai said Qatar is keen to take the sport of equestrian to the next level.
“There will be a total of 12 competitions in the series which will be held either at Al Shaqab or Qatar Equestrian Federation premises. We will have seven events at Al Shaqab and five at QEF’s Outdoor Arena,” Al Mannai said.
“We will be using the events to engage the community for local sponsorship and entrepreneurship by providing food and beverage sales opportunities,” Al Mannai added.