Did Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Really Win the "Endurance World Championship" or Is It All Fake?
2023-03-06 - 3:33 م
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): It was not a coincidence that the son of the King of Bahrain, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, was announced as the winner of the "World Endurance Championship" held in the UAE on Saturday, February 25, 2023, after two Emirati riders who beat him were pulled from the final race under the pretext that their horses' heart rate exceeded the maximum limit. A scenario almost similar to this happened 5 years ago when Sheikh Nasser, who also announced locally that he had won the "Ironman World Championship", while official figures of the competition showed that it was a German rider who won the title, and Sheikh Nasser came in the 251st place.
On his Instagram account, Sheikh Nasser wrote, celebrating, "I am the world champion". The Royal Court-owned Al-Watan newspaper said that the son of the King of Bahrain, honorary president of the Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation, achieved a "major international achievement" by winning the championship of the 160-kilometer race with the participation of 126 riders representing 36 states in Butheeb International Endurance Village in the UAE. Sheikh Nasser himself spoke of a "strong competition" with riders from the UAE, Britain, Spain and Uruguay during the race, claiming that he had "passed the difficult and strong stages with success".
However, the FEI website, which Bahrain Mirror referred to in order to confirm the accuracy of this news, says that Sheikh Nasser became only the first after the withdrawal of the two Emirati riders, Daafous Amer Al-Mansouri and Saeed Salem Ateeq, who were ahead of him in the race in first and second place, under the pretext that "the heart beats of their horses were too high, above the maximum rate," thus Sheikh Nasser moved up from the third to first place. It is noteworthy that Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad is married to the daughter of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the country where the competition was held. It is to note also that the riders, who were in first and second place and were pulled under a strange pretext, hold the Emirati nationality.
The federation said on its official website that Sheikh Nasser "crossed the finish line in third place behind two riders from the UAE, but both were pulled for high heart rates, earning him the individual gold medal."
The federation stated that the two Emirati riders were pulled from the podium despite winning the highest individual positions because their horses failed the maximum heart rate coefficient test.
Sheikh Nasser's alleged "victory" in this championship in the UAE comes a few days after he was also crowned a champion of the "King's Endurance Cup" in Bahrain by winning a 160km race (the same distance as the race he claimed to win in the UAE) where his family handed him the first-place award, which he had personally announced raising its value to 130,000 Bahraini dinars a few days before holding it, in his capacity as the president of the body that organizes it.
Such competitions cannot be relied upon, as any respectable competition stipulates that there is no conflict of interest between the organizers, the arbitrator and the competitors. Bahraini athletes tell many stories about the various threats they receive, sometimes even being subjected to beatings and being deprived of many privileges if anyone even thinks of winning against Nasser bin Hamad in sports competitions held at the local level.
This is not the first time that the king's son has claimed victory in a race whose results turn out to be a false victory.
In mid-October 2018, Bahraini state media claimed that he had won the "Ironman World Championship", while the tournament's official website, according to a previous investigation carried out by Bahrain Mirror to fact-check the story, confirmed that it was German Patrick Lange who won the title for the second time, setting a new record, which made him the first athlete to break the 8 hours record in the race. Lange finished the race in 7 hours, 52 minutes and 39 seconds, while Nasser finished it in 9 hours, 19 minutes and 10 seconds, a difference of about an hour and a half, which prompted one commentator to say in mockery, "Thank God Sheikh Nasser, ranked 250, is well. Thank God he didn't die."
Here, two questions arise: Why were two Emirati riders pulled from first and second place over the alleged high heart rate of their horses? Was it to make Sheikh Nasser win? Is it just a coincidence that these two riders are both from the United Arab Emirates where the competition is held, noting that Sheikh Nasser is married to the daughter of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai? It is more important to mention that both of the riders were ahead of Sheikh Nasser. Was all of this a coincidence?