MUHAMMAD Ziyad Muhammad Hamzah earned the praise of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad after Malaysia's youngest rider at the World Endurance Championships finished 37th in Euston, England recently.
Ziyad, 16, was the second-best Malaysian in the 160km ride on board his horse, Braza, in eight hours, 47 minutes and 19 seconds, the same time as the Sultan of Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin on Nafis De Brisal.
Asri Abd Aziz was Malaysia's best placed rider at 32nd in the event won by Dubai ruler and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum.
Dr Mahathir said Ziyad's achievement was commendable, given that half of the field of 147 riders failed to finish the course.
"Malaysian athletes do not often win," said Dr Mahathir in a statement.
"Therefore we celebrate even if our athletes are placed, as for example Lee Chong Wei who came in with a silver medal in the London Olympics and Pandelela Rinong who was third in diving.
"I would like to report another achievement of a Malaysian athlete. He is Muhammad Ziyad Muhammad Hamzah who recently completed an arduous endurance ride of 160km in the World Endurance Championship held at Euston Park in Britain.
"He came in 37th in the race participated by 147 riders. Maybe it is not something to celebrate. But about half the riders did not complete the course.
"Muhammad Ziyad is the youngest rider, still in his teens. He is in the category of 52 fastest riders, and is among the top 10 of the FEI World Junior category.
"He has accordingly been selected to represent Malaysia in the 2013 World Endurance Championship in France.
"I am particularly proud as Muhammad Ziyad works with his father at my stud farm in Langkawi. The horse he rode is from the farm and is a pure bred Arab gelding."