GULFWEEKLY: A Bahraini rider has jumped back into the saddle and galloped his way to victory with lightning speed and precision at a major international competition in Europe, despite suffering a serious ankle injury last year.
Hamad Fakhrawi, who had landed a steady seventh place in the 1.30cm class on July 14 with his horse named Jackpot in the Peelbergen PRO Tour in Holland, ended the contest on a high note by clinching first place in the 1.40cm class on July 16.
“There were around 120 competitors and the class I won was a speed class so I had the quickest time,” said Fakhrawi who works at Gulf Air and lives in Isa Town.
“It does feel really great to win here in Holland. I’m even more happy to be back in international competitions again as I broke my ankle while training in Bahrain last year, so being able to ride again and win after a year in the same month feels really good.”
The PRO Tour courses are built by an internationally recognised course builder and is specially developed to help pro riders prepare for international competitions and achieve higher rankings.
The show jumper, who has been riding for around 24 years and trains daily for hours, is currently renting a stable in Holland for him to train with Jackpot.
When he is back in the kingdom, he trains for competitions at Fakhrawi Stables in Malkiya which he owns with his sister Manal, who races for Team Victorious and won the Endurance King’s Cup in April last year.
“My elder sister Manal got me into the equestrian world at the age of nine and I have been riding ever since,” he added.
Fakhrawi will be returning to Bahrain mid-August and his horse flies back around the end of September.
“It is a shame that I have to be away from him for more than a month but unfortunately, I have to go back to work as I travel using my annual leave,” he explained.
“Normally in the winter, I compete in the Arab Tour in the Gulf, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and in Bahrain. In the summer, I compete around Europe – Holland, Belgium and France. I have two comp–etitions next and my aim is to get Jackpot ready for the tour in the Gulf and then, hopefully, get a seat for the Asian Games.”
Fakhrawi has achieved top rankings over the years in the Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad competition and the Federation Cup, as well as second place in contests such as the Asian National Competition and the UK’s Royal Windsor Show.
He also has landed third place in competitions such as the AzelHof Show Jumping Event in Belgium and France’s Deaville International Competition. Now fully-fit, he’s hoping to add more accolades to his trophy cabinet.
For more details of his horse riding journey, follow @h_fakhrawi on Instagram.