NNA - The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Beirut, under the patronage of its Ambassador Hamad Saeed Al-Shamsi and Beirut Governor Ziad Shebib, organized the Zayed 2018 Cup for Horseracing in the Park Beirut Square on Sunday.
Attending the sports event was Caretaker State Minister for Planning, Michel Pharaon, former MP Nabil de Freij, President of the Lebanese Equestrian Federation, Major General Suhail Khoury, Race Director Nabil Nasrallah, and various sports dignitaries.
In his word on the occasion, Shebib said, "This is a special day for Beirut and for the Beirut horseracing field, and God willing, this will be recurrent." He congratulated the winners of the first, second and third places, deeming the organized Cup "a special event which is a collaboration between Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates."
"The horses sport in the United Arab Emirates has reached a world-class level in advancement, and together with Ambassador Al-Shamsi, we wished to unite the development, modernity and globalism of the history of this ancient sport in Lebanon, and in Beirut specifically," Shebib added.
"The field of horseracing in Beirut dates back two thousand years since the Roman era," he continued to explain, noting that the horseracing field in which today's sports event was organized is 102 years old and thus, forms part of the heritage of Beirut that ought to be preserved.
"This is what the Society for the Protection and Improvement of the Arabian Horse Breed is trying to do, and it is our duty to cooperate with this association to develop this sport and raise it to a more professional standard," Shebib emphasized.
In turn, Minister Pharaon thanked the UAE and Ambassador Al-Shamsi for his continuous efforts and follow-up on activities in Lebanon. "Today, the event is important and symbolic, compared to the level of horseracing in Dubai, "he said.
"We are living in a difficult situation in the field of horseracing in Beirut, so we hope that the plans and projects will be implemented quickly, with the approval of His Excellency Governor Shebib, the Municipality of Beirut and its Council, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and His Excellency, President Michel Aoun," Pharaon added.
For his part, Al-Shamsi referred to "several initiatives in the Year of Zayed 2018 at the humanitarian and developmental levels in various educational and medical sectors," underlining "the importance of the horseracing field in Beirut."
"It is a historic field with Arabian horses, which Sheikh Zayed accorded great importance," Al-Shamsi added.
"Our presence in the heart of Beirut, the capital of culture and civilization through the Sheikh Zayed Award means a lot to us," he went on. "Beirut is the Arab capital that embraced horses before many countries, and it continues to do so despite all the conditions facing this sport," Al-Shamsi underscored.