The host nation took double-gold in dressage at the 12th Arab Games staged every four years and for the first time in Doha, Qatar. Dressage joined as one of 24 sports in 2007.
Qatari riders lived up to expectations when taking Dressage Team gold ahead of the Lebanon in silver medal position and Iraq in bronze.
Dround Jury members Raphael Saleh (FRA), Juan Carlos Campos (ESP), Fouad Hamoud (ALG), Hans Christian Mathiesen) DEN and President, Carlos Lopes (POR) all gave their highest mark to the experienced Rashid Al Marri who has competed in two Asian Games, and who partnered his new ride, Paso Doble, to a score of 68.784.
Team-mates Mohammed Al Marri (Brentano VD Zuuth) and Abdulla Al Marri (Mabruk) produced the next two best results to secure the team honours while the fourth, and youngest, Qatari competitor, 28-year-old Ahmed Al Badi (Argentino), also achieved a good mark of 61.946. This was fractionally less than the 61.975 awarded to Lebanon's Georges Bitar and Silvan, but there were only three riders on both the Lebanese and Iraqi teams, and the final tally of 58.153 left the Lebanon trailing Qatar by more than eight points.
“This is the first Arab Games gold medal for Qatar”, said Rashid Al Marri. “We are very happy because we missed it in China (at the Asian Games).”
Qatar's Al Marri family were again well to the fore on the Individual medal podium when Mohammed Al Marri claimed gold, with the judging panel in full agreement as the 20-year-old was awarded the winning score of 70.843. Rashid had to settle for silver this time out following a stumble on the final diagonal by Paso Doble, while Farah Al Khojai, riding Mazurka Grafin for the United Arab Emirates, broke the Qatari grip on the medals when clinching bronze with a test that began with great flow but lost some of its impact in the canter movements.
Al Khojai joked afterwards that her horse “almost gave me a heart attack!”. She said “this was not our best day…things went haywire with the music because we had to change it to fit the test. With music you always have to catch up and slow down – but it worked out in the end!”.
The newly-crowned Individual champion was delighted with his result. “I expected to be in the top three, but not to be in first place, and I'm very happy about that”, Mohammed Al Marri commented.
GOLD – QATAR 66.901, Mabruk (Abdulla Al Marri), Argentino (Ahmed Al Badi), Brentano VD Zuuth (Mohammed Al Marri), Paso Doble (Rashid Al Marri);
SILVER – LEBANON 58.153, Rythm (Carla Kattouah), Silvan (Georges Bitar), Primo (Malih Dana);
BRONZE – IRAQ, Absolut (Nooruldeen Al Azzawi), Louis Cristal (Mustafa Al Hussaini), Advocat (Ali Shbri).
GOLD – Brentano VD Zuuth (Mohammed Al Marri) QAT 70.843;
SILVER – Paso Doble (Rashid Al Marri) QAT 68.990;
BRONZE – Mazurka Grafin (Farah Al Khoji) UAE 66.667.