The search is on for 1,800 volunteers to help run the equestrian events of the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong. The company running the events is looking for people over 16, of any nationality but who are proficient in Cantonese, Putonghua, English and, preferably, other languages. Lam Woon-kwong, chief executive of the Equestrian Company, the body organising the events, warned would-be volunteers to consider seriously whether they could make the required commitment. It would be 'a disgrace to Hong Kong' if there were suddenly not enough people to do the work. As well as serving at the Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events in August and September 2008, and an equestrian contest being held next August as a trial for the Games, they will have to be available for residential, weekend and evening training and on-site practice. 'We cannot force employers to approve leave for employees so they can work for us,' Mr Lam said. 'We'll leave that to them to figure that out.' The recruitment will be done in three stages, with the first 90 to 100 to be signed on this year. This batch will be 'training volunteers', who will lead and train the others. Mr Lam, who was confident they would find enough suitable people, said the most important characteristic they would look for was a passion to serve the Olympics. He indicated that volunteers would have a day off every three or so days during the Games. They would not be paid but would be provided with insurance, uniforms, meals and transport. Application forms are available from Home Affairs Department public inquiry counters, from the ground floor of Bank of China Tower in Admiralty or online at www.equestrian2008.org .