I am pleased to announce today the launch of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Flat Racing Festival of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup, in its new form. The new season begins in May 2010 with seven world tours that will include the UAE, France, Netherlands, Germany, and a number of states to be announced later.
The launch of the Festival is in appreciation of the great efforts exerted by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE. The festival will especially celebrate his internationally recognized achievements, may God bless his soul, in the maintenance of heritage and tradition, and the attention he paid to heritage sports, particularly in the equestrian field.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Flat Racing Festival of Sheikh Zayed I Cup, which was first held in Europe in 2009 and concluded last November at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, delivered its message faithfully by introducing the European peoples to the high regard in which Arabian horses are held in the deep-rooted UAE and Arab heritage. The festival will also introduce other aspects of this heritage and the importance of its continuation for generations to come in the country, the pride of citizens in their history and the symbolism of Arabian horses in the consolidation of the values of authenticity and national identity.
The Festival and the Cup affirm the values of celebrating the Arabic equestrianism of our founding fathers, and they translate the great efforts of our noble sheikhs in embracing and sponsoring traditional sports, and all sports in general, as cultural manifestations of human progress, areas of common interest and acts of creativity amongst peoples, old and new.
The launch of the Festival in its new form as the Sheikh Zayed Cup comes to honour the memory of the founder of our nation, and the leading builder of our renaissance, who led the victorious march of the UAE, achieving the values of Arab authenticity and paving the way to build a society of well-being and security.
This Festival carries the aspirations of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, notably strengthening feelings of pride and honour in the people of the UAE through the support and development of heritage, and by safeguarding this intangible heritage in the region. The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage adopted a comprehensive vision of culture in this regard that included tangible and intangible heritage alike. It devotes all its resources to maintaining the customs and inherited traditions, and seeks to revive and preserve them through consolidation in the minds and lives of the young citizens of the UAE.
To sum up, we say that horses hold a great importance which link the past with the present, and have won the attention of the international media in its coverage of these races and various other events, giving it a special flavour and achieving great success. My thanks goes to all the sponsors and supporters who have contributed to the success of the Festival.
Thank you all for coming.