The host nation of Kazakhstan captured all the medals at the 2011 FEI Central Asian Endurance Championship staged in Talgar earlier this month. Altyngali Bissemaganbetov claimed gold, while Amangeldy Munaitbayev took silver and Kairzhan Andybay clinched the bronze. Just six of the 16 starters completed the 80kms course, and the only non-Kazakh in the final line-up was the sole competitor from Turkmenistan, sixth-placed Oleg Karabayev.
Bissemaganbetov made history as he secured his success riding the Adai horse Oyly. The Adai, a breed native to Kazakhstan, was only recently awarded an official pedigree following tests conducted by a State Commission in the Mangistau Steppes earlier this year. These horses are cherished for their hardiness, and Oyly proved just how tough they can be.
The sport of Endurance is growing in the region, and Kyrgyzstan was also represented as the competition got underway on 15 May. Talgar, which lies close to the city of Almaty, is at the foothills of the Zailiisky Mountains where the Asian winter-sports championships regularly take place. The town is also on the Silk Road – the network of trade routes that stretches across Asia, linking East to West – and close to the Caspian Sea. Demonstrating the spread of the sport, some of the competitors travelled over 500 kilometres to compete in the championship.
Parts of the course traversed the ski slopes and there were some mild undulations, but the track for this 1-Star event was not intended to be over-taxing on either horses or riders, many of whom were relative novices at this level of the sport. The finish proved a tight one however when Bissemaganbetov crossed the line just fractions of a second ahead of Munaitbayev riding Akkanat. The winning partnership, who crossed the line after 04:50:40 hours, covered the course at a rate of 16.56 kms per hour while Munaitbayev was only fractionally slower in 04:50:42.
Third-placed Andybay and Kertobel took five hours and four seconds to complete the track, competing at a rate of 15.78 kms per hour.
President of the Ground Jury, Mr Hallvard Sommerseth, said he was delighted with the way the Championship evolved. “This was a big event for the competitors in this region – it takes time to develop the required skills, but the riders did very well indeed” he said. He was most impressed with the winning horse, Oyly. “The Adai is bred in Kazakhstan and I had never seen one before. They are very hardy, they never wear shoes and they have a surprisingly quick recovery-rate. They can also drink the salt-water from the Caspian Sea – I thought only camels could do that!” he added.
The 2011 FEI Central Asian Endurance Championship was organised by the Kazakhstan National Federation under the watchful eyes of President, Mr Alexandr Machkevitch and Secretary General, Mr. Sergey Buikevich.
FEI Central Asian Endurance Championships 2011
Gold – Oyly (Altyngali Bissemaganbetov) KAZ; Silver – Akkanat (Amangeldy Munaitbayev) KAZ; Bronze – Kertobel (Kairzhan Andybay) KAZ; 4, Batiy (Dina Turganbayeva) KAZ; 5, Albatros (Asset Zhakupov) KAZ; 6, Albatros-Zakat (Oleg Karabayev) TKM.