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Race Day in Egypt - reply from Technical Delegate. (Carol Bunting)
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- Date: Fri, 4 May 2001 06:58:14 -0700
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From: Carol Bunting <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: ridecamp <email@example.com>
Date: 03 May 2001 18:53
Subject: Race Day in Egypt - reply from Technical Delegate. (Carol Bunting)
I was privileged to be invited as FEI Technical Delegate to the CEI-B 100
km. ride held in Egypt on 21 April. However, I was surprised and horrified
to read Maryanne Stroud Gabbani's report on the ride in Ridecamp, and would
like to clarify and correct some of her assertions.
She states that the variation in ride fees was "because they had to have
either qualified in two previous rides or pay the ride fees for them".
This, to me, is totally unacceptable. The Ride Officials were advised that
all horses/riders entered were suitably qualified.
The delay to the start of the rider-briefing was caused by the time taken
for the weighing-in of the competitors. Weighing was done on a set of
bathroom scales in one of the into-vet timekeeper cubicles (only reasonably
flat area available). These cubicles are very small and can only
accommodate the two officials required for the weighing and the person being
weighed,so there was some confusion in the queue. I have spoken to one of
the two members of the Ground Jury who carried out the weighing and he is
adamant that at no time did anyone "jump the queue", with or without a
She states that "they" decided to apply the cut offs loop by loop. Quite
untrue! The closing time for each vet-gate is worked out from the start
time. i.e. start to V.G.1, start to V.G.2, etc.
Due to the comparative inexperience of some of the local horses, it was
announced at the Briefing that the minimum speed for the competion had been
reduced from 11 k.p.h. to 10 k.p.h. and closing times were worked out at
I am surprised that Ms. Gabbani mentions "boredom factor". The many riders
I spoke to (local and foreign) were pleased with the course - not too flat
as desert courses go and plenty variation underfoot.
Then we come to "most of the FEI vets and stewards had left the area, so if
anything had happened to them, no one would have known". Again totally
untrue. I was lucky enough to have been supplied with a 4x4 and driver, and
spent most of the day observing the ride, often behind the last of the
competitors, accompanied each time by a vet. On each part of the route, I
met vets, officials and stewards monitoring the ride. There certainly was
no shortage of vets - 15 on the Commission (who took turns patrolling), 3
Treatment Vets and two totally dedicated to patrolling the route.
Ms. Gabbani is correct in stating that there were 75 starters - most people
know you should not believe everything you read in the newspapers!!
She states "Maktoum did not even greet the Federation president who had
showed up for the race". I take it she means Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al
Maktoum. Sheikh Mohammed was a competitor in the race, a very serious
competitor, and, as any serious endurance rider can tell her, socialising is
not high on the list of priorities of any competitor during the race or in
the vet holds.
The next statement, "many commented on the rather unusual
vetting.....remarkably anti-Egyptian". There was nothing unusual about the
vetting, this was a normal FEI vetting, and I think some of the vets
concerned might take offence at "anti-Egyptian". As I mentioned earlier,
there were 15 vets on the Commission, all highly respected in the world of
endurance, including Ray Randall, Jim Bryant, Juliette Mallinson, Jean Marc
Lamolle, Hallvard Somerseth, Antonia Mota, Surendra Babu.
I would like to know who Ms. Gabbani is referring to: "the people who don't
run an honest race", and "riders hopping into 4x4s...while someone else rode
the horse"? I met and briefly chatted with Ms. Gabbani on the day of the
ride and saw her at various times throughout the day. At no time did she
mention any irregularities or make a protest to me or any of the other FEI
officials. I feel sure that she must be aware of the FEI Protest Procedure.
To state that "His Excelleny started a loop before another rider whose horse
had vetted before HE's" after "having local horses shoo-ed out of the
vetting area when HE wanted to vet his horse", is absolutely ludicrous and
Ms. Gabbani is casting doubts not only on the credibility of Sheikh
Mohammed, but also on the FEI Vets and Officials concerned. To my mind, a
serious accusation. Vets and officials rarely know who the rider of a horse
is when it is presented for vetting, and, if they did know, it would make no
difference to them. In the case of Sheikh Mohammed, he rarely enters the
vet-gate when his horse is presented. When he first took up endurance
riding, crowds of people would follow him into the vet-gate, giving the
officials an embarrassing crowd-control problem. He quickly realised the
problem and decided to forego the pleasure of seeing his horse vetted.
Then, "the ride dismantled before locals could finish". This, if it
happened, surely was a problem of the Organising Committee. I do know that
Dr. Martha Mischef (Treatment Vet) was concerned that the Clinic Tent might
be taken down too early. However, I spoke to General Samy Negm El Din (O.C.
and very helpful), and he arranged for the tent to be left up overnight. In
the event, it was not needed, as all horses were discharged shortly after
the end of the race.
What a pity that Ms. Gabbani and the EEF President did not turn up for the
awards ceremony. It was quite a party. Sheikh Mohammed was certainly there,
enjoying himself, surrounded by competitors, officials and.....Egyptian
dignitaries. Apparently, this is when HE prefers to socialise.
In my opinion open mail with unsubstantiated accusations is a very dangerous
practice, and certainly does nothing to help endurance riding in Egypt.
Constructive criticism is always welcome but "bar-room gossip" is
Carol Bunting - F.E.I. Endurance Committee Member.
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