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Endurance.Net Home 2007 Sultan's Cup: Charlie

Dato Salleh Interview
Here We ARe
Course Description


The Day Before

Now everybody is here. The hotels are full, cars and liason peope everywhere - do you need anything? Just call, just ask. All the cars have bright Sultans Cup stickers on them now, covering the entire side of the car. Driving through the city we get lots of stares! Great advertising.

We took a tour on Wednesday of the veterinary surgery which was built just for this event. It's located at the Terengganu Equestrian Center - polo fields, stables, restaurant, huge clubhouse building, hotel rooms. This is where the Sultan's horses are stabled (except now, since Terengganu's Sultan is now the king - and his stable has been moved to Kuala Lumpur). Dr. Bala (Dr Balakrishna Polanaidoo) has been the primary designer and driving force for completion of the surgery unit. It is very impressive, though as yet has not been used. There's an iron rail (I-beam) that runs along the ceiling from the entrance (where the horse would be taken off of the truck) to the surgery room. A sling and straps for the legs are suspended from the rail, to transport the anesthetized horse to the operating table - which is inflatable - to raise the horse to the proper level and angle. It is 'top of the line' . It is a 40 minute drive from the venue and in the case of emergency a horse would be transported with police escort . The venue is also highly equipped - blood and enzyme analyzers, ultra sound, x-ray, etc. There are portable emergency kits - for the vetgate, and for each of 2 emergency response teams. Everything and anything one could need. Dr. Martha Misheff (USA) and Dr. Kishor Baburao Mahind (India) are the designated treatment vets. Dr. Kishor has also been involved in the design and equipping of all of the venue's veterinary clinic, and of the surgery center. I spoke briefly with Dr. Misheff this morning, she is very impressed with the facility and commented on the willingness and competence of the organizing committee.

Yesterday the rest of the press corp arrived - Cidinha Franzao (Brazil), Pamela Burton (USA), Uli Spilger (German, married to a Malaysian, living in Terengganu part time - her husband is working with the local - and famous- boat builder, building a wooden yacht), Alice Proust (France), Tawfiq Salehi (Bahrain), Beatrice Fletcher (French, living in KL), Frank Lother (Germany), a Japanese group filming for Horse TV, and of course all the Malaysian press.

Tony Abi Aad and Charbel Akkari are here as the timing officials for the event. The timing system was developed by Tony (main architect, living in Lebanon) and Charbel (system designer while at Abu Dhabi Equestrian club, currently living in Australia). Tony partenered with a new company called Endurance International, based in Abu Dhabi. He is working with with Ahmed al Hamadi and Mohamed Issa. Their goal is to be a 'travelling Organizing Committee" - providing OC overview, timing system, etc - all the essential elements of organizing an Endurance event. They are using the software and timing system developed in Abu Dhabi - the swipe card system. They came in May for the YSDM Penn ride, tried the system here for the first time, and it was very successful - steady and accurate.

There is also is a group from KL - Integrated Electronic Systems - who is doing the GPS tracking system. They have had a short lead time to have this ready and working, so it's really on a 'test' basis for this event, with the final goal being the World Championship in 2008. Soo Chin Lam gave a description of the system, how to carry it, how to use it (automatic gps tracking updates every 20 seconds, an SOS button - in case of tigers!- a pouch to carry it in, )

The rider briefing was at 2pm. Very concise, well conducted. I spoke with Ian Williams for a bit while watching horses vet in - he basically agreed - everything was perfect, the OC couldn't have done a better job - now it's up to the riders. I think there were only two foreign horses that didn't start. Leonard's horse spiked a fever yesterday - they didn't know what the problem was yet, blood tests didn't reveal anything, but it was treated and will not be allowed to start. One of the horses from Dubai had a lameness issue (I think shipping caused). The USA horses looked fantastic! Inshallah!

So - we're headed to the opening ceremony tonight - will take more pictures. We're putting vetting photos up (as I type they are downloading) - they'll be up and linked within a few hours.