Wejdan hopes to impress again at CHI Al Shaqab

Doha: Qatar’s Wejdan Majed al-Malki is the first Arab female to compete?in the dressage category at an international?five-star Grand Prix competition.

Qatar’s Wejdan Majed al-Malki is the first Arab female to compete?in the dressage category at an international?five-star Grand Prix competition.

Longines Arena at Al Shaqab will host the 10th edition of CHI Al Shaqab from today till Saturday.

Longines Arena at Al Shaqab will host the 10th edition of CHI Al Shaqab from today till Saturday.

Qatar’s Wejdan Majed al-Malki is the first Arab female to compete?in the dressage category at an international?five-star Grand Prix competition.

Qatar’s Wejdan Majed al-Malki is the first Arab female to compete?in the dressage category at an international?five-star Grand Prix competition.

Longines Arena at Al Shaqab will host the 10th edition of CHI Al Shaqab from today till Saturday.

Longines Arena at Al Shaqab will host the 10th edition of CHI Al Shaqab from today till Saturday.

Qatar’s Wejdan Majed al-Malki is the first Arab female to compete?in the dressage category at an international?five-star Grand Prix competition.

Qatar’s Wejdan Majed al-Malki is the first Arab female to compete?in the dressage category at an international?five-star Grand Prix competition.

After having finished sixth in her maiden Commercial Bank CHI Al Shaqab Presented by Longines last year, Qatar’s dressage trailblazer Wejdan Majed al-Malki is relishing the prospect of taking part in the prestigious five-star championship again, the 10th edition of which will be begin today at the Longines Arena at Al Shaqab.

The 45-year-old created history in 2022, when she became the first Arab female rider to compete in the dressage category of the five-star Grand Prix. It was an impressive debut from Wejdan, who is now determined to push the bar higher against the best riders of the world. Wejdan will be in action on her 18-year-old purebred bay Spanish stallion Mango Jacaro with her event set to be held tomorrow and on Saturday. From dreaming of ponies as a girl, to becoming the first Qatari dressage rider in the sport’s history, Wejdan’s passion for horse was fuelled by her father, who believed in her potential from an early age.

“It is a surreal experience to be here among some of the world’s best riders. It’s been my dream to compete in such events since I was quite young,” Wejdan said yesterday, ahead of three days of the equestrian carnival.

“To take part at an international level and to be one of the first riders representing Qatar at this level is an honour and a privilege. However, it is also full of expectations and a lot of work is required, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of passion and a lot of determination are needed to be able to get here,” she added.

Wejdan is hopeful she and her veteran partner Mango Jacaro can represent Qatar at the Olympics one day. “This is our second five-star participation and hopefully we will continue to take part in this event in future. We also hope to go to the Olympics one day, inshallah, and also maybe the World Championships,” she said.

Dressage is one of the three Olympic equestrian sports, alongside eventing and showjumping. It involves demonstrating a horse’s training by performing a set of prescribed movements in front of a panel of judges.

“Dressage is not an easy sport. A lot of people may not realise this. It’s elegant but it requires patience, commitment and dedication. You do a lot of different movements, and really, dressage is the perfection of these movements to the highest level of quality that you can achieve, Inshallah,” Wejdan said.

Meanwhile, the today’s schedule at CHI Al Shaqab includes two-star and five-star showjumping events besides three-star para-dressage competition. Over 130 riders and more than 190 horses from 28 countries are competing for top honours in this year’s edition. While top riders from countries like Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands will be battling for titles, teams from Palestine and Lithuania will make their debut in the premier CHI event.

Among the elite riders to watch out for at this year’s Chi Al Shaqab, will be last year’s showjumping Grand Prix winner Marcus Ehning from Germany. The field also includes Christian Ahlmann (2021 winner), Ludger Beerbaum (winner in 2014 and 2016), and Pieter Devos (2019 winner).

The high-quality showjumping roster features four of the current top 10 riders in the FEI world rankings – Harrie Smolders (ranked 4), Marlon Modolo Zanotelli (ranked 7), Maikel van der Vleuten (ranked 8) and Kevin Staut (ranked 10).

In the Dressage events, Sweden’s Patrik Kittel returns to Doha, after winning the Freestyle competition in 2020 and finishing as runner-up last year. The Para-Dressage competition welcomes new riders, as well as previous winners including Pepo Puch (Austria), Kevin van Ham (Belgium) and four-time champion, the Netherlands’ Rixt van der Horst. Rising stars who may catch your eye include Jeanne Sadran (France) and Jack Whitaker (Britain) in the showjumping, as well as Juan Matute (Spain) and Evelyn Eger (Germany) in the Dressage events.

Source: Qatar Olympic Committee

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