December 10, 2001 Abu Dhabi~ While in the rest of the world sightings were made of the rare alignment of the sun and moon in a lunar eclipse, in Abu Dhabi 77 young riders from 29 countries took to the trails to battle for Individual and Team medals in the 120km FEI Junior/Young Rider World Endurance Championship at Al Wathba.
Competed as fiercely as the Senior World Championships. Uruguay’s Martin Sterling, emerged triumphant to take the Gold medal, finishing on the nine year old Vendaval, with a total ride time of 5:18:51 and an average speed of 23.61kph/14.67mph. Allix Jones rode Castlebar Moonlight to the Silver medal finish, and Meg Wade was there to see her horse home. Bronze medal was earned by Uruguay rider, Oriana Ricci, riding Hunter Toro. All four riders from Uruguay completed with good times (1,3,7,19), and the top three times put them on the podium for double gold– Team Gold in a combined ride time of 16:35:53. France earned Team Silver with a ride time of 17:31:42 and Australia won Team Bronze with a ride time of 18:14:39. Just out of the medals, the USA Team finished fourth with three riders in 19:35:56. Argentina, New Zealand, and the Czech Republic all finished teams of three riders.
The riders, all between 16 and 21 years of age, started with five desert loops to complete, arriving into the the Emirates International Endurance Village for vetting and crewing.
USA rider, Kelsey Russell riding Valerie Kanavy’s Gold Raven, took the early lead and arrived first on loop one with an average speed of 21.41kph/13.30mph. Sterling did not come out of the gate in the top runners, preferring to hang back, finishing the first loop in 24th position with an average speed of 19.47kph/12.09mph. Seven riders were eliminated on this loop.
Sterling moved up each loop, finishing in ninth place on loop two, then sixth place on three, and battling with Allix Jones and UAE rider, Sheikh Khalifa Al Hamad on Ultimo for first on the last two loops. He took the lead on the last loop, leaving Jones to arrive 10 seconds later at the finish. Manuela Basombrio from Argentina riding Tio Langa arrived fourth, and Sh Khalifa Al Hamad slowed to finish fifth. The first USA horse/rider to finish was Kelsey Russell and Gold Raven in sixth place.
The fast-paced ride finished 48 riders. USA riders Mary Clark and Kelsey Kimbler finished together 38th and 39th with ride times at 7 hours. The last rider across the line was Joona Mickelson from Finland riding Solomonas, finishing with a ride time of 8:52:15.
Teams were represented by four riders, the three best times counting. Countries represented were Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chili, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Oman, Republic of South Africa, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UAE, Uruguay and the USA.
Team Finish Order
Martin Sterling, Vendaval
Oriana Ricci, Hunter Toro
Maria Pereira, Mi Jade
Juan Pablo Viana, Larkeena Del
Nina Lissarrague, Al Jaime De
Lea Vogler, Al Abjar
Julien Lafaure, Petra Cabirat
Lisa Riou, Favela
Allix Jones, Castlebar Moonlight (Anglo)
Brooke Warner, Kunama Safira
Alexandra Toft, Hight Society Te (Part Arab)
United States of America
Kelsey Russel, Gold Raven
Mary Mathryn Clar, DA Al Capone
Kelsey Kimbler, Cody Canuck
Manuela Bassombrio, Tio Langa
Sofia Delgado, M O Don Cirilo
Fausto Sanchez, RS Dulce Arabe
Sian Reid, AA Sabatage
Tessa Deuss, Aspen Hills santa
Georgia Smith, Gelnmore Astroid
Natalie Terberova, Joulik De Villeneuve
Tereza Hruba, Wata (Shagya)
Miroslav Jadlovsky, Sioux Dakota
Congratulations to all riders, crews and support for a job well done.