Monday, September 27, 2010

WEG Endurance Awards: Ceremony and Photos

Today's Endurance Awards Ceremony was filled with smiles all around as Medalist's mounted the podium to receive the cheering of the spectators and the Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals for which they worked so hard and so richly deserved.

Team Gold for the United Arab Emirates (Kit Houghton/Fei)

After their riders finished third, sixth and seventh individually in the Endurance World Championships, presented by Meydan, the United Arab Emirates today accepted their team gold medals in the Main Stadium at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

The UAE team’s total time (23:53:36) was nearly 55 minutes faster than silver medalist France (24:49:46), while Germany surprised the world by claiming the bronze medal (25:34:16). It was Germany’s first medal in endurance at a World Equestrian Games. 
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the individual silver medalist, elected not to be a member of his country’s team for these World Games. He said before the ride began that he’d made this decision because it was “in the best interest of the team.”
The UAE team members were HE Sheikh Hamdan Mohammed Al Maktoum, HE Sheikh Majid Mohammed Al Maktoum, and Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum. They had trained in Newmarket, England, to prepare for the World Games, because the grass training gallops and the climate there are far more similar to Lexington than Dubai, said Jaume Punti-Dachs, one of the team’s trainers.

New mother Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton displays the Individual Gold Medal for Endurance (Kit Houghton/Fei)

Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton, the individual gold medalist, also trained her mount, Nobby, in Newmarket since Punti-Dachs is her husband. She gave birth to their daughter, Maria Punti-Alvarez, just seven weeks ago. “I feel no different today than after any other ride,” she said. “The only difference was that I could not sleep all night because I had to feed the baby.”

Team France celebrates their Silver  Medal  (Kit Houghton/Fei)

The French team members were Sarah Chakil, Virgnie Atger and Cecile Miletto Mosti. Hanaba du Bois, the horse ridden by Jean-Philippe Frances of France to fourth place, earned the best-condition award, determined this morning by the ride’s veterinarians.

Jubilant Team Germany enjoys their Bronze Medal-winning moment  (Kit Houghton/Fei)

The German team members were Gabriela Foster, Sabrina Arnold and Belinda Hitzler.

The 2010 Alltech® FEI World Equestrian Games Endurance Medalists  (Kit Houghton/Fei)

With a 55-percent completion rate (55 finishers of 100 starters)—the highest completion rate ever for an endurance championship at the World Games— riders and team officials hailed the 100-mile course around the Kentucky Horse Park as a great success. The course crossed land owned by 26 different owners and passed through 256 gates, all of which had to be manned by officials or volunteers to control equine, pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Riders wore global-positioning-system tracking devices throughout the race, allowing spectators to follow them on television screens throughout the Kentucky Horse Park. “It was not part of the official timing or scoring system, but I think it worked well to keep the spectators interested in following the race as it progressed,” said endurance discipline manager Emmett Ross.

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