Equestrian team brings home gold for Saudi Arabia at Asian Games

Saudi Arabia finally clinched its first gold medal of the Asian Games on Tuesday when the national equestrian team came first in the Team Jumping event at the Jakarta International Equestrian Park. (SPA)
Updated 28 August 2018
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Equestrian team brings home gold for Saudi Arabia at Asian Games

  • Saudi Arabia finally clinched its first gold medal of the Asian Games on Tuesday when the national equestrian team came first in Team Jumping
  • The first-place finish helped Saudi Arabia ascend the medal table, moving up to 25th

JAKARTA: Saudi Arabia finally clinched its first gold medal of the Asian Games on Tuesday when the national equestrian team came first in the Team Jumping event at the Jakarta International Equestrian Park.
Consisting of Abdullah Sharbatly on his horse Carrera, Khaled Aleid on Kayenna of de Rocky Mounten, Khaled Al-Mobty on Desert Storm II and Ramzy Alduhami riding Ted, the four-man team combined to collect minimal penalties of 10.90 in the final round. Dressed in smart deep-green suit jackets, white shirts and ties, and crisp khaki pants, they secured the Kingdom’s first gold since Sharbatly won the Individual Jumping event at the 2014 Games in Incheon.
Japan finished second after recording penalties 12.74, while Qatar were made to settle for bronze with penalties 20.50. Kuwait and UAE finished in fourth and fifth respectively, demonstrating the domination West Asia has of the sport. Sheikh Latifah Ahmed Juma Al-Maktoum congratulated the Saudi Arabia team on winning gold, adding she views the Kingdom and the UAE as one family.
The first-place finish helped Saudi Arabia ascend the medal table, moving up to 25th, ahead of Lebanon and Iraq with the equestrian gold joining shooting silver and two medals in karate, one silver and one bronze. That haul expected to improve further when Sharbatly defends his individual jumping gold on Thursday, however, before that Hussain Al-Hizam will be in athletics action on Wednesday with high hopes in the Men’s Pole Vault.
“He has the potential, for sure,” said Majed Basonbul, Saudi’s chef de mission in Indonesia, who watched Ahmed Al-Muwallad finish fourth in the Men’s 110m Hurdles. “We are hoping for a medal in Pole Vault, but we know the level of competition is very high.”
Also in action on Wednesday is the UAE football team, who will contest their semifinal against Japan at the Pakansari Stadium in West Java. Japan, vanquishers of Saudi Arabia in the last eight, won the tournament in 2010 when they beat the UAE 1-0 in the final, but Maciej Skorza is confident of causing an upset.
“With each match, the team improve,” the UAE’s Polish coach said. “They possess a strong personality, therefore fear nothing when confronting any team. Our qualification to the semifinal is well deserved because the team have put in a lot of effort and time. We have set the bar pretty high. Although the match against Japan won’t be easy, our aim is to win and qualify for the final.”

BRILLIANT BAHRAIN
Bahrain were the biggest Arab winners for the third consecutive night inside the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, adding two gold and two bronze medals to their already impressive haul. The tiny Kingdom has now won 16 medals, all in athletics.
Bahrain won the Mixed 4 x 400m Relay courtesy of Ali Khamis, Salwa Naser, Oluwakemi Adekoya and Abbas Abbas. They held of India and Kazakhstan to take first place by a little under four seconds. Meanwhile, Kalkidan Befkadu took gold in the Women’s 5000m with a time of 15 minutes 8.08 seconds, ahead of Daria Maslova of Kyrgyzstan and Bontu Rebitu, also of Bahrain. And Manal El-Bahraoui finished third in the Women’s 800m.
Qatar also added another gold to your collection when Ahmed Janko and Cherif Samba beat Indonesia’s Ade Rachmawan and Mohammad Ashfiya in the Beach Volleyball final.


Historymaker: Saudi teen secures Kingdom’s first ever Olympic gold medal

Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Assiri wins historic first gold for the country.
Updated 18 October 2018
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Historymaker: Saudi teen secures Kingdom’s first ever Olympic gold medal

  • The victory marked Saudi’s third time on the podium at the two-week Youth Olympics
  • I have been working towards this moment for 10 years, said the gold medalist

BUENOS AIRES: It is said that the karate-ka who has given the necessary years of commitment and meditation to the sport is both fearless and tranquil. They can, it is said, be calm even in a burning building.

Last night, inside a furnace-like Europe Pavilion at the Youth Olympic Park, and in front of Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Assiri won the Kingdom its first ever Olympic gold medal. And welcomed it, initially at least, with utmost calm. 

Defeating Masaki Yamaoka of Japan 8-0 in the Men’s Kumite -61kg final, the 17-year-old Saudi immediately thanked his opponent and bowed to the various officials, before turning to his coach, removing his red gloves slowly, and greeting him with a starch salute. Only afterwards, once these rituals of respect were over and his opponent had slipped away, did Al-Assiri explode with joy, his face contorting into beautiful agony as he screamed in guttural Arabic and jumped around the mat.

“I am so happy, so proud,” he said, his prize glinting in the spotlight of the world’s media. “This is the first gold medal for Saudi Arabia and our first medal ever in karate. I have been working towards this moment for 10 years, especially in the past two when my training intensified. I came for gold and this is the result of years of serious work. It was very difficult, but I am just so proud. Thank you to Allah.”

The victory marked Saudi’s third time on the podium at the two-week Youth Olympics, after bronze medals in weightlifting and 400m Hurdles. It is a stellar return for a country that brought only nine athletes to Argentina and has won just one medal at this level before, a bronze in equestrian four years ago. Yousef Jalaiden, the chef de mission for the Saudi delegation, had confidently predicted medals earlier this week, but even he admits expectations have been exceeded.

“We are very happy right now,” Jalaiden said, watching as Al-Assiri, wrapped in the Saudi flag, posed for photos with Prince Fahd bin Juluwe bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed, the head of the delegation. “It’s our best achievement ever at an Olympics — be it Youth or the full Olympics. We are so happy — we hoped for three medals, like I said before, and we got them,”

Karate is making its Olympic debut this week ahead of Tokyo 2020 and Assiri had secured his place after winning at the first qualifying event in Croatia this summer. In front of vocal support from Saudis and Egyptians, he was handed the historic victory after his offensive front-footed display culminated with Yamaoka fouling four times during their bout.

“During training, people from other countries were all telling us Mohammed would take gold, but for us it was never a certainty,” Jalaiden added. “We expected him to reach the final, but when you get to a final, anything can happen. He has been training exceptionally hard though and it has all paid off.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Egypt’s Yasmin Nasr El-Gewily won the Women’s Kumite 53kg final, defeating Japan’s Rinka Tahata 2-1. “Egypt are our neighbours and we have an excellent relationship with them, so today it is like our nation is one,” said Jalaiden. “We have both enjoyed great success here.”