THE OMAN EQUESTRIAN FEDERATION TO FOCUS ON OLYMPIC EVENTS

The Oman Equestrian Federation (OEF) has said that despite the success of its riders in international tent pegging competitions it is time to focus more on Olympic disciplines.

Speaking at a press meet at the Oman Olympic Committee headquarters on Wednesday, Sayyid Mundhir al Busaidi, the OEF chairman, said, “We need to focus more on Olympic disciplines like show jumping and dressage. We have done very well in tent pegging with our riders bringing glory at regional and international tournaments.

“Show jumping needs young blood and we need to promote this Olympic event. The sport requires more funding and also needs horses that are costly but we need to focus on the sport. To start with, we will now send bigger delegation at GCC events for the riders to gain more experience and exposure.”

Busaidi said that the 2015-16 season, which began last month with endurance competitions, will witness 67 events compared to 72 last year. “The reason is clear. There is an economic slowdown and we have few sponsors backing out. However, we are working and if things improve, we may plan more events next season.”

A total of 23 show jumping competitions besides three grand prixs will be organised this season. Also, there will be three grand prixs for elite riders to go along with nine domestic competitions in tent pegging while there will be eight events in endurance besides seven qualifiers. Six competitions are lined up for dressage and the traditional races will constitute eight meets.

OEF will also host a GCC tent pegging championship in Salalah during the next Khareef season.

On this occasion, Busaidi also felicitated the national endurance team that won a bronze at the recently-concluded second GCC Games in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

The four-member team comprised Maher al Balushi, Abdullah al Balushi, Hassan al Balahi and Ammar al Balushi while the coach was Jamal al Balushi and Said al Balushi was his deputy.

Also present on the occasion were Juma al Mushaifi, the OEF secretary, and Ahmed al Abri, the OEF treasurer.

SOURCE: MUSCAT DAILY