MUSCAT: The final event of the Muscat Showjumping Series season brought fans to the Olympic Equestrian Training Centre in Al Felaij last weekend for a festival of competitive riding. In total, 61 riders took part in the event, representing many branches of the government and private stables including Royal Cavalry, Royal Oman Police, Royal Guard of Oman, Royal Army of Oman, Al Said stable, Al Noor stable, Al Ariba stable, Creo stable and Olympic Equestrian Training Centre (OETC).
The event was attended by guest of honour, Said bin Hamdoon al Harthy, Under-Secretary of Ports and Maritime Affairs, who awarded prizes in the three classes.
The first prize in the D1 class for horses up to one metre went to Abdulmalik bin Abdullah al Mawali from the Royal Oman Police, Mohammed Gouda finished second and Olivia Williams took third. The D2 class for horses of 110cm was won by Anwar al Rashid, Sultan al Fori finished second and Abdulmalik al Mawali finished third. Sultan al Touqi won the C Class for horses of 120cm, second place went to Barbara Golachowska and Sultan al Fori finished third.
Showjumping has been identified as part of the national Tanfeedh initiative as a sport of high potential growth. By developing the facilities and event standards, showjumping could form the basis of a new sports tourism strategy to boost Oman’s capability as host of internationally-recognised events.
Sultan al Touqi, organiser of the event, said, “The Muscat Showjumping Series has shown that local support is there and the potential for Omani riders to improve and compete at a higher level also exists. Working closely with the Oman Equestrian Federation, the next step for us is to elevate the standard of the events and attract international riders and events to the country in the year to come. The last weekend’s finale was a prime example of what can be achieved.”
“My thanks go to everyone who has worked on this series, at the stables, the judges, and of course the riders. We look forward to the next series with great enthusiasm and hope to welcome many new riders to the Centre,” he added.
The series began back on November last year, with a number of events organised to offer an international family-friendly spectacle. Spectators enjoyed a fun family day out and many youngsters had the chance to try the sport, which the organisers hope will inspire the next generation to take up showjumping and elevate future editions of the event to international standards.
Equestrian has been an integral part of Omani culture for centuries and the emergence of showjumping as a competitive sport in the Sultanate unites this heritage with the spirit of competition. The Olympic Equestrian Training Centre can become a national hub for future champions by channelling this passion for horse riding into expanding the sport domestically with the goal of winning an Olympic medal for Oman and position the Sultanate as a regular host of prestigious events.
The next round of showjumping is expected to commence on October 2018 and continue until April 2019.