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Endurance: The Sport of Sheikhs (Second Edition) E-mail


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Endurance. The Sport of Sheikhs (Second Edition) In 680 BC, the Greeks introduced horse-drawn chariot racing into the Ancient Olympics. Run over nine miles in the hippodrome, the event was seen as an astonishing test of stamina for a horse. The Greeks had invented their own version of endurance.

Over two and a half millennia later, the sport of Endurance is again on the threshold of a march toward Olympic status. The chariots are gone. Instead the sport has returned to its original, Arabic form, a test of horsemanship where a single horse and rider press their outer limits to cross great distances in competition.

For thousands of years, the Arabs challenged their finest Arabian horses over the harsh desert. Fittingly it is the Arab world that has reinvigorated Endurance. The sport was revived in the Emirates a decade and a half ago and has since headlined activity.

In the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan have become innovators. They have brought to bear the best in modern technology and veterinary care on this ancient sport. In doing so, Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Mansoor have transformed Endurance from a cottage industry into a major international sport.

Sheikh Mohammed’s innovative FEI/Emirates World Masters series has transformed top level Endurance. On a personal level, his competitive instincts have created a formidable international team that has heralded an era of professional Endurance. What had taken riders from other countries over 25 years to accomplish, Sheikh Mohammed achieved in a decade.

In 2005, the global sport of Endurance, in a manner of speaking returns home to its roots. The World Endurance Championship brings top riders and horses from around the world together to compete at Dubai Endurance City, the most stunning venue that the sport have ever seen.

Endurance is both returning to its ancient, spiritual home, and is also set to capitalize on a pioneering spirit that Sheikh Mohammed brings to the sport.  These Championships represent a watershed in the history of the sport.

Endurance: The Sport of Sheikhs is a testimonial to the achievements of Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Mansoor and so many other UAE and Middle Eastern leaders.

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