New Cairo’s Plat­inum Club hosts IFCC for eques­tri­ans to boost cul­tural in­te­gra­tion


The Daily News Egypt - - Sports - By Mo­hamed Ab­del Megeed For­mer Egyp­tian eques­trian

Un­der slo­gan “Eques­trian Com­pe­ti­tion for Cul­tural In­te­gra­tion,” New Cairo’s Plat­inum Club hosted the In­ter­na­tional Friendly Club Com­pe­ti­tion (IFCC) for eques­tri­ans from 1 to 3 Novem­ber for the first time in Egypt.

The event’s con­cept is a friendly show jump­ing tour which in­cludes 1.30 Class com­pe­ti­tions with $5,000 prize money which are held in the par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries’ clubs. Last June the com­pe­ti­tion was in the Derby Club, Saint Peters­burg.

The IFCC par­tic­i­pant coun­tries are Rus­sia,Bul­garia,SouthAfrica,Jor­dan,In­dia and Egypt.The sched­ule in­cluded rid­ing, sight­see­ing, en­ter­tain­ment, and other ac­tiv­i­ties.

Show jump­ing is an eques­trian sport which in­volves nav­i­gat­ing a course of jumps set up in­side a ring, a sta­dium de­signed for eques­trian events. In a show jump­ing event, the stam­ina, speed, and flex­i­bil­ity of the horse are tested, along with the re­la­tion­ship that the horse has with its rider. Com­pe­ti­tion rank­ings are de­ter­mined by the num­ber of faults ac­cu­mu­lated, and the over­all speed with which the course is com­pleted.

De­pend­ing on the style of show jump­ing, the course may be made sim­ple or com­plex.The high­est level of show jump­ing, called Grand Prix, fea­tures com­plex and in­tim­i­dat­ing ob­sta­cles which in­clude a wide spread, mean­ing that the horse has to jump high and long, and ob­sta­cles like hedges and ditches. It was the first time for Egypt to host 1.30 Class Com­pe­ti­tions.

Chair­per­son of the Egyp­tian Eques­trian Fed­er­a­tion, He­sham Hatab, Saudi busi­nessper­son, Khaled Bin Laden, and chair­per­son of Al Ahly for Real Es­tate De­vel­op­ment, Hus­sein Sab­bour. at­tended the event and re­ceived hon­orary awards.

Daily News Egypt had the chance to in­ter­view sev­eral fig­ures at­tend­ing the event, the tran­script for which is be­low lightly edited for clar­ity:

Gen­eral man­ager of Plat­inum Club

Has­san Souka, gen­eral man­ager of Plat­inum Club,said that the club,built on 28 fed­dan,has about 12 ac­tiv­i­ties,in­clud­ing eques­trian, swim­ming, squash and oth­ers.The club has about 200 eques­tri­ans from dif­fer­ent ages. Souka ex­plained that the Plat­inum Club’s Equicare Rid­ing Cen­tre,headed by KhaledAssem,agreed with a num­ber of clubs from five coun­tries to launch the IFCC over sev­eral rounds.Each coun­try will host a round of the com­pe­ti­tion an­nu­ally.The first round was held in Jor­dan, the sec­ond in Rus­sia, and the third in Egypt, while the com­ing round will be in In­dia.It was the first time for Egypt to host the com­pe­ti­tion and Plat­inum was the first Egyp­tian club to par­tic­i­pate in an in­ter­na­tional club cham­pi­onship for eques­trian, Souka added.

More­over, Souka said that Plat­inum hosted the 2017 World Modern Pen­tathlon Cham­pi­onships which in­cluded about 350 play­ers.The club will also host the first stage of 2019 Modern Pen­tathlonWorld Cup which will in­clude about 450-550 play­ers.

He said that the club won 38 medals in the Cairo and Giza na­tional com­pe­ti­tions for Judo. Also, three of the club fe­male Judo play­ers were nom­i­nated to join Egypt na­tional un­der-16 team, in­clud­ing Laila He­sham, Laila Gharabawy, and So­hila Has­san.

Head of Equicare Rid­ing Cen­tre

Khaled Assem is a for­mer eques­trian and has a com­pany spe­cialised in sup­ply­ing eques­trian prod­ucts and plan­ning in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions. Assem be­lieves that eques­trian be­came an in­dus­try, not just sport, as it re­quires fund­ing and in­volves other ac­tiv­i­ties.

He said that Egyp­tian eques­trian is of a big de­vel­op­ments and started to at­tract more at­ten­tion.

How­ever, “it needs cer­tain types of peo­ple who are pa­tient and can deal with an­i­mals.It is an ex­pen­sive sport,but it builds a very spe­cial gen­er­a­tion of play­ers,” Assem said.

He stressed that de­vel­op­ment of the eques­trian in­dus­try needs con­ti­nu­ity, fund­ing, and de­vel­op­ing good ideas. He pointed out that the Egyp­tian Eques­trian Fed­er­a­tion (EEF) “does its best” to sup­port Egyp­tian riders and clubs, but af­ter all it is a gov­ern­men­tal in­sti­tu­tion which gov­erns the sport.“Only the pri­vate sec­tor can re­ally push for­ward eques­trian in Egypt through of­fer­ing funds and spon­sor­ing com­pe­ti­tions.

South African team

South­ern Rid­ing Club rep­re­sented South Africa in the IFCC. South­ern, founded in 1993, is owned and run by Eric Bianchi. He is the chair­per­son of the South African Eques­trian As­so­ci­a­tion (SAEA), an In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion for Eques­trian Sports (FEI) coach, and an In­ter­na­tional course de­signer.

Bianchi praised the well-or­gan­ised com­pe­ti­tion, say­ing that it was an out­stand­ing event and that the horses given to their riders were of good qual­ity. It was the sec­ond time for Bianchi to visit Egypt as he vis­ited Sharm el-Sheikh sev­eral years ago. He pointed out that eques­trian is still de­vel­op­ing in Egypt. He be­lieves that Egypt has high stan­dard eques­tri­ans and the Egyp­tian riders who par­tic­i­pated in the IFCC were tal­ented and can com­pete in­ter­na­tion­ally.

In South Africa, eques­trian com­pe­ti­tions fo­cus fun­da­men­tally on en­try lev­els, in­clud­ing 1 me­tre and 1.10 metres classes.The IFCC is more about the uni­fi­ca­tion of youth around the world, and giv­ing them an op­por­tu­nity to prac­tice sports.

He said that the IFCC was launched in 2014 in South African, and toured the par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries reach­ing Egypt, and it will go to In­dia next.

Aya Amr, an Egyp­tian for­mer eques­trian in E class, at­tended the IFCC tour’s leg in Cairo. Sup­ported by her mother, Amr,24,in­her­ited her pas­sion for horses fur­ther and joined the Eques­trian Club of Gezira (ECG) where she be­came a pro­fes­sional rider.

Amr’s eques­trian jour­ney lasted for 10 years be­fore she re­tired last year. She com­peted in sev­eral na­tional cham­pi­onships and ranked third in sea­son 2015/16.

Amr be­lieves that Plat­inum Club’s host­ing of the IFCC re­flects a great progress of the game in Egypt which can con­trib­ute to im­prov­ing Egyp­tian eques­tri­ans on an in­ter­na­tional scale.

Miss Egypt Heba He­sham

Miss Egypt Heba He­sham at­tended the IFCC to present the tro­phies to the win­ners. He­sham—who now works as a fash­ion de­signer—said that she al­ways liked the con­cept of be­ing a knight, not­ing that it is about man­ners, courage and proper rep­re­sen­ta­tion, which is the same point of beauty queens.“It is not only about the outer beauty but also the in­ner beauty.”

He­sham as­serted that she was hon­oured to come and watch this type of el­e­gant sport. She be­lieves that eques­trian needs more at­ten­tion, es­pe­cially that Egypt andArab coun­tries are known for Ara­bian horses which are among the best horse breeds in the world.

She pointed out that pub­lic fig­ures and celebri­ties’ pres­ence in such sports events is very im­por­tant as they add some value to the com­pe­ti­tion, and at­tract the pub­lic’s in­ter­est, es­pe­cially in Egypt, to fol­low it.

He­sham par­tic­i­pated in a pre­vi­ous UN-re­lated cam­paign to raise aware­ness about the prob­lems fac­ing an­i­mals world­wide. She called for more help from the govern­ment to ed­u­cate peo­ple about the ac­cu­rate ways to treat an­i­mals. She noted that al­most all cam­paigns and ef­forts cre­ated to pro­tect an­i­mals are char­i­ta­ble and on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis, so they are lim­ited and re­quire gov­ern­men­tal in­ter­ven­tion.

Miss Egypt Heba He­sham

Eric Bianchi

Khaled Assem

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