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Boost for Endurance Europeans

Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline, is sponsoring this year’s premier endurance event — the FEI Emirates Airline Open European Endurance Championships — which are taking place in Punchestown, Ireland on Sunday 21 September.

The ride will follow the traditional one-day 160km format through the picturesque Wicklow Hills. A qualifier for the 2004 World Endurance Championships, it is also open to non-European competitors, enabling top endurance riders from around the world to take part.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Emirates’ executive vice president for commercial operations worldwide, says: “Emirates has a long history in supporting equestrian events across the world, from the Irish Oaks to the Dubai World Cup, which boasts the biggest purse in horse-racing.

“Our involvement with endurance includes supporting the World Championships which recently took place in the UAE. We are pleased to continue our support of this exciting sport with this latest sponsorship.”

The FEI Emirates Airline Open European Endurance Championships will be held in conjunction with the four-day Sport Ireland IFG European Eventing Championships (18-21 Sept) at Punchestown. This is the first time that two FEI championships have ever been taken place concurrently at the same venue.

Tim Philips, chief executive of the International Sport Horse Show, which organises the event, says: “Emirates’ support has enabled us to expand last year’s 100-kilometre course to include a second vet gate, allowing us to run the 2003 championships in the more traditional one-day, 160 kilometre format.

“Now that the championships are open to riders outside of Europe, we expect to see endurance riders from all over the world competing in what we are sure will be the top endurance meeting this year.”

Spectators at the FEI Emirates Airline Open European Endurance Championships will see more than 100 competitors from up to 25 countries tackling the beautiful valleys and hills of Kildare and Wicklow counties. The main vet gate will be located beside the main arena at Punchestown, enabling visitors to watch the endurance and eventing championships side-by-side.

For more information on the International Sport Horse Show, which encompases both European Championships, visit: www.sporthorseshow.com

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