'Promising' report card from IOC
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge's brief visit to the Beas River cross-country venue yesterday produced a summation that can only please the Hong Kong organisers of the Olympic equestrian events. 'Very promising,' he said.
Accompanied by international equestrian head Princess Naya Bint al-Hussein, Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, president of the Hong Kong Olympic committee and Lam Woon-kwong, chief executive of the Hong Kong Equestrian Company, Rogge attended the second day of eventing of the Good Luck Beijing - HKSAR 10th Anniversary Cup.
The IOC head was apparently not expecting to make a speech, but after passing a large media contingent, he returned to address them. 'I am very happy with the preparations. I have spoken with some of the riders and they are very happy,' he said.
'It is very promising. Everything is progressing well and we will have an absolutely fabulous Games here next year.'
Although public attendance at the test event for the first two days was far from impressive, Rogge promised the Olympic equestrian events would have sufficient exposure internationally and locally.
Hong Kong equestrian head Lam said 445 spectators out of the 1,000 ticket holders attended the cross-country competition yesterday. 'The test event is only confined to a very small number of spectators and the weather may have played a part in it. I hope more spectators will come [today],' he said. 'With 12 months left, we will work hard to promote the event and I hope to see equestrian fans demanding tickets by then.'
Lam said the cross-country competition was an important day for organisers to test both the logistic arrangements and safety measures for the horses and riders.
'Both are important and being tested. There were no injuries or incidents reported and the competition was conducted smoothly,' he said.
The event will conclude at the Hong Kong Olympic Equestrian Venue at Sha Tin today with showjumping as the final competition.