In a bid to revive Libya’s equestrian tradition, a horse-riding tournament was held in the city of Misrata.
A recently opened horse-riding school, Madrasrt al-Khayala leQafz al-Khesna hosted the event supported by the Libyan Arab Equestrian Federation.
“The purpose of this goodwill tournament is to gather Libyans who like equestrian horse jumping – which has disappeared in recent times due to the country’s situation, and we, as a school, tried to breathe life into it, because this is a sport loved by all Libyans,” said event organiser, Hesham Abu Reeka.
The purpose of this goodwill tournament is to gather Libyans who like equestrian horse jumping - which has disappeared in recent times due to the country's situation.
Forty-five riders, some as young as 10 took part in the spectacle that drew loud applause from the stands.
One popular competitor, thirteen year old Hamza al-Madany, hopes to compete internationally.
“I fell in love with this hobby, and I’ve watched people jump and I was determined to learn, so I can join like them, and I learned and began joining local tournaments and hopefully I will join international tournaments and I wish good things for this sport and this tournament and hopefully peace will prevail in Libya and we can participate abroad,” he added.
Spectator Gomaa al-Tenashy, who attended the event with his children, said watching horse-riding up close was exhilarating.
“For me, this is the first time I’ve watched equestrian jumps live. Before today, I only watched it on television – which deprives you from the excitement that comes from attending the tournaments,” he said.
Political conflicts have plagued Libya for the past six years, as security forces continue their battle against Islamic State militants, making life for ordinary Libyans a challenge.