Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Double Mission For Qabil At Pattaya

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 (Bernama) -- National equestrian ace Qabil Ambak Mahamad Fathil sees that he now has a double mission for this year's SEA Games: He not only wants to make an impact in his pet event of show jumping, but also in the dressage or "horse ballet" competition.

This is especially important for the soft-spoken 27-year-old from Selangor, who reckons that this would probably be his last showing in the SEA Games.

Qabil had earlier voiced his intention of not taking part in this year's SEA Games to make way for younger riders but the Equestrian Association of Malaysia asked him to reconsider so that he could strengthen the national team.

After Korat, Qabil wants to focus on bigger events like the Asian Games, SEA World Cup League and World Championships.

He is also looking forward to qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics.

But for now, Qabil's main priority is to repeat his four-gold medal performance - showjumping (team and individual) and dressage (team and individual) at the 2001 Kuala Lumpur Games.

He knows that the challenge will be enormous but not impossible.

"Thailand, with home ground advantage, will be our biggest threat. We will give our best to keep our stranglehold in this region," said Qabil, who spoke to Bernama before he left for Thailand.

Qabil made his national debut at the age of 15 at the Chiang Mai SEA Games in 1995.

Qabil, who won the National Sportsman Award in 2001, has been so serious with his SEA Games mission that he brought in two European coaches to shore up his chances.

Besides the coaches, Qabil is also depending on his new horse, Dexter, which he acquired from Hamburg a month ago to reinforce his prospects in the dressage event. He had used Charming for his previous outing.

"Dexter is nine years old and it seems to be adapting well with the climate here (contrast to the cold weather in Europe). I hope it will continue to do so until the event.

"As for showjumping, I will use the 12-year-old Parvina, which I bought in January 2006 for the Doha Asian Games," said Qabil, who is now already in Pattaya to get acclimatised to the conditions there.

He had also trained in Bemmel, near Amsterdam, a month earlier.


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