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Olympic dreams come true for Team Egypt at CSIO4*-W Rabat

Sunday, 13 October 2019
CSIO4*-W Rabat 2019

Photo © Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping. Team Egypt celebrating their win and Olympic qualification in Rabat. Photo © Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



CSIO4*-W Rabat concluded on Sunday with the €100,000 Nations Cup, and nothing less than Olympic qualification was at stake for nations from Group F. A total of 14 countries were lined up for the challenge, with only six of them - United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Morocco, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt – battling it out for the last two tickets for Tokyo 2020. 

The demanding 1.60m course set by Alan Wade (IRL) counted 12 obstacles and 15 efforts, with an open water as fence number 4 and a triple combination as fence number 11. Team Egypt wrote history when taking the win and the country's first Olympic qualification in 60 years, with a double clear from Nayel Nassar on Lucifer V (Lord Pezi x Grandeur), a single time fault in each round from Abdel Saïd on Venise du Reverdy (Quidam de Revel x Robin II Z), a 0/4 from Sameh El Dahan on Suma's Zorro (Douglas x Horos XX) and a 12/2 result from Mohamed Taher Zeyada on Vizalaty (Newton de Kreisker x Mr Blue). 

"I think today was ten times the pressure I have ever had for any Grand Prix," Sameh El Dahan told the press afterwards. "It has been a dream for Egypt to qualify for the Olympics and I am really proud of all of us. Our main aim was to qualify for Tokyo. In Suma's Zorro I have a great horse, she has been my partner for so long and I know her inside out. Together with Joanne Sloan-Allen, we made a plan at the beginning of the year to try and bring her here and help the team to qualify for the Olympic Games. Sometimes these plans don't work, but this time it did, so I am just happy. From grooms to other supporters to other riders who helped us on the ground today, there are so many people who were supporting us here. It really showed, and that is what it is all about – team spirit. There are people who flew into this show to just support us, there are so many owners of these horses who are maybe a little bit behind the scenes but have been a huge help. And I want to thank them all," El Dahan said. 

Photo © Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping. Double clear for Egypt: Nayel Nassar and Lucifer V. Photo © Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping.

"It is just an incredible feeling, and I want to thank these guys that I was riding with," Abdel Said filled in. "It is the first time we have all our main horses on the same team, and it is really motivating to see what we can do. I have ridden enough Grand Prix classes all over the world, the World Equestrian Games and so on, but I have never felt the pressure like I had today on my shoulders. I felt we were representing an entire nation, and I knew if it went well today we would write history. I have never experienced a pressure like that, and that is why I took my time on the course and did not mind the time faults – I just wanted to get the job done. Luckily my mare jumped incredible and stayed cool. The pressure was immense," Said explained. 

"It was a lot of pressure today,” Nael Nassar said. “Over the last year Lucifer has been so consistent – but it is no secret that he can be a bit tricky and he has his own character. He was really excited today, I think he felt the gravity of the moment." 

Team Switzerland placed second, with double clear results from both Elian Baumann on Campari Z (Contact V.D. Heffinck x Platini M) and Anthony Bourquard on Tum Play du Jouas (Querlybet Hero x Voltigeur du Bois), who were joined by Marc Röthlisberger on Agatha D Ecaussinnes (Schilling x Lys de Darmen) and Alain Jufer on Cornet MM (Cornet Obolensky x Gralshueter). The third place  went to Italy; Roberto Turchetto on Baron (Colman x Numero Uno), Roberto Arioldi on Chiclone (Cornado I x Julio Mariner), Emanuele Camilli on Jakko (Vagabond de La Pomme x Mr Blue) and Natale Chiaudani on Chopard (Rascin x Concorde). 

Team Qatar – Bassem Mohammed on Gunder (Thunder Vd Zuuthoeve x Randel Z), Hamad Nasser Al Qadi on S I E C Lonnie (Le Primeur x Sherlock Holmes), Sheikh Ali Al Thani on Sirocco (Balou du Rouet x Guidam) and Rashid Towaim Ali Al Marri on Armstrong van de Kapel (Quasimodo Z x Farn) – secured their place for Tokyo 2020 by being the second best nation from Group F. 

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