YOUSSEF AL MULLA, DEPUTY GENERAL MANAGER OF THE DUBAI EQUESTRIAN CLUB
SPEAKS TO ADIYAT RACING PLUS ABOUT HIS EXTENSIVE AND WIDE REACHING CAREER IN ENDURANCE RACING AND EQUESTRIAN SPORTS IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Endurance racing is a hallmark of the sporting culture in the United Arab Emirates, and I am delighted to play a part in its huge growth and development and the transformation and progression it has made in the 21st century. The pivotal role played by notable figures such as HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, HH Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and other prominent sheikhs and veteran horsemen have promoted endurance racing to the prestigious level it enjoys today.
Sheikh Mohammed's vision and involvement have elevated every aspect of the sport, including organisational staff, horses, riders, and infrastructure, thus intertwining the sport's identity with that of the UAE. My own journey began in 2004 when my responsibilities involved organising endurance rides and, within two years, I joined the Dubai Equestrian Club, initially working on the loops before moving into the organising committee. It was here that I saw that the sport's evolution relied primarily on the critical role of leadership in fostering its growth and prestige. This, combined with a robust infrastructure has contributed to the rapid development of endurance racing in the UAE. The establishment of state-of-the-art facilities like the Dubai International Endurance City, inaugurated in 2005, is a symbol of Dubai's commitment to equestrian sports and I would like to hope that my association with the facility has maintained its efficiency for nearly two decades.
I have also relished the chance to be participate in various World Endurance Championships. These include important events like the 2005 Championship in ih Al Salaam, UAE; the 2010 Kentucky Championship, where the UAE team, led by HH Sheikh Mohammed secured the team gold; the 2012 Championship in Austin Park, Britain, also won by His Highness; and the title of the 2014 Normandy Championship in France clinched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.
These events marked important achievements in my career as they showcased the global impact and recognition of UAE endurance racing. In order to maintain our place at the head of the world’s endurance racing community, flawless organisation of successful rides is paramount and therefore achieved thanks to the result of immense preparatory efforts. Organising rides overseas presents specific logistical challenges, such as transporting horses and managing travel and delegations within strict timelines, requiring high levels of concentration and precision. The UAE's ascendancy to the top rank in endurance races is directly thanks to the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the guidance of key figures like Sheikh Rashed bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, and Major General Dr Mohammed Essa Al Adhab. Their leadership, combined with the dedicated efforts of the teams at the Dubai Equestrian Club, have been instrumental in achieving this prestigious position in the world of endurance racing.