Thursday, October 28, 2010

Qabil eyes first gold in Asiad equestrian

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia are riding high hopes on Mohd Qabil Ambak Mahamad Fathil to steer the dressage team to go one step better in the Asian Games.
The 30-year-old Qabil is the most experienced rider in the country and to him, a first-ever gold in Asiad equestrian in Guangzhou will put him on the right track to achieve his childhood dream – to qualify for the Olympic Games.
The right horse power: Qabil Ambak delivered a bronze in the individual dressage at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.
Qabil will be competing with the same team who won a silver medal at the 2006 Doha Games. The team include his younger sister, Quzandria Nur, and the others are Putri Alia Soraya Ahmad Shuhaimi and Lee Cheng Ni.
In the individual dressage, Qabil will also be out to better his result at the previous Games in which he won a bronze.
Qabil is also expected to stamp his mark in the jumping event with two others – the Al Mohdzar siblings, Syed Mohsin and Syed Omar Syed Abu Bakar.
Currently, Qabil, the 2001 Sportsman of the Year, and all the team members except for Cheng Ni are in Europe training under different coaches at their bases in Belgium and Holland. Cheng Ni trains in the United States.
The Equestrian Association of Malaysia (EAM) secretary, Lau Choo Seng, said that Malaysia had a good tradition in the dressage event at the Asiad.
Malaysia were also silver medallists in the event at the 1998 Bangkok Games.
“Our target is to win a medal again in team dressage and jumping.
“All the previous members, who won the silver at Doha in dressage will be there in Guangzhou,” said Choo Seng.
Meanwhile, the National Sports Council’s (NSC) officer in charge of equestrian, Jennifer Yong, said that Malaysia’s main challengers would be from China, South Korea and Japan.
“Malaysia are only taking part in the dressage and jumping team and individual events. We will not be taking part in eventing this time,” she said.
Putri Alia Soraya Ahmad Shuhaimi, along with Qabil, was part of the silver-medal winning team four years ago.
“We have a good chance in dressage but we should not overlook the strong challenge from China and South Korea.
“The NSC have been funding the training of these athletes for the last two years and we also fork out money for the purchase of their horses.
“The riders, however, have their own individual coaches and their own groomsmen and veterinarian.
“In our regular meetings, the equestrian team have given assurances to do better than in their outing at the 2006 Doha Games.”

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