MATES: Norlaily Buniyamin with her poster boy Jessie James.
FIFTEEN men and a lone lady rider have been short-listed to train for the World Endurance Championships (WEC) in Terengganu on Nov 6-9.
But four riders will be dropped after centralised training, and the gutsy lady, Norlaily Buniyamin, does not want to be in that stable.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin is also among those who have qualified for the WEC. And he has registered Pascha Larzac and Moonlight Pharaoh as his mounts.
“I have a good feeling that I will be able to make the final cut, as my horse has been in terrific form this year,” said Norlaily.
Norlaily is more at home when astride her mount, Jessie James, riding 160 kilometres under torturing conditions. So, when it came to dolling-up for the press conference yes terday, she found out that her saddle did not have lipstick and powder in it.
“I had to rush out and buy lipstick and powder for this function, and my mum gave me an earful!,” said Norlaily.
Which is just as well, because there is no special category in the WEC, and she will be competing against rugged men from all over the world on equally menacing horses, who kick and bite.
“Jessie James is from Australia and has been in Malaysia for the past five years. And we finished second in the Royal Kelantan Endurance (in August).
“I believe the WEC it will be much better for ‘local’ horses, as opposed to riders who have to fly their horses down, and then get them acclimatised for the race,” said Norlaily.
National Sports Institute Director General Datuk Dr Ram lan Aziz said: “In June this year, only five riders had qualified and we were worried on how to get seven more into the WEC. And so, it was a sweet surprise when 11 more qualified via various races, and now we will have to trim the squad instead, to meet the quota allotted.”
TRAINING SQUAD: Datuk Kamaruddin Ghani, Datuk Shuaib Isahak, Datuk Abdullah Taib, Faizal Ismail, Rosdam Noor, Che Ahmad Yusri, Alif Sabidi, Yusran Yusof, Zainuddin Yusof, Rino Rani, Halim Alihan, Bakar Aman, Norlaily Buniyamin, Firdaus Hamid, Azizie Ismail.