London 2012 Organising Committee pleased with Equestrian Test Event
Hailed as an overall success by competitors, organisers and public alike, the Greenwich Park Eventing Invitational finished on a high with Jumping, the final element of the event, providing an exciting finale to the three-day competition.
Six years to the day since London won the Olympic bid, competition moved back into the main arena - following yesterday's extension into the wider park for the Cross County discipline - with British rider Piggy French claiming victory after leading the event since the first day of competition.
She said: "As you walk into the park you get goosebumps. The organisers have done a great job with the stabling, the arenas and the Cross-Country course. It's going to be fabulous and I can't wait to come back."
Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall, who is Patron of the British Equestrian Federation, presented French with her honours after watching the final Jumping phase, which was split over two rounds, 35 riders in the first and the top 25 proceeding to the second.
Earlier in the week the first day of competition saw 36 athletes compete in the Dressage element. Crowds were treated to a great show in the arena which introduced the innovative purpose-made platform, made from plywood, aluminium and steel and held above the ground by 2100 pillars resting on the ground.
Day two extended out to the wider park for the Cross Country competition which produced spectacular sights for both the athletes and spectators. Groups of school children, equestrian enthusiasts and local residents gathered at the 19 jumps located around the 2.8km course to watch with great anticipation the riders and horses tackle water obstacles, jumps, slopes and hills. Jumps, which were borrowed from other equestrian venues in the UK, will be replaced by bespoke London landmark designed jumps in 2012.
Debbie Jevans, LOCOG Director of Sport, said: "A lot of hard work has gone into delivering this successful test event in such a wonderful Park. We will now conduct thorough debriefs so that we can fine tune our plans to ensure we deliver a fantastic event in 2012. We have worked closely with The Royal Parks and with all our stakeholders to ensure that the integrity of the Park has and will be maintained. We thank them all for their support in bringing equestrian sport to Greenwich Park for the first time."
Meeting the aspirations of London 2012 organisers, the test event was successful in introducing Equestrian and an iconic venue to the residents and school children of Greenwich. The three day competition also gave riders and horses a taste of what to expect at the Games in 2012 while allowing organisers to perform vital tests.
Graham Dear, Park Manager of Greenwich Park for The Royal Parks said: "It's so good to see all of the hard work pay off. It's particularly rewarding to see and hear the reaction of the many school children that have visited the park. Lots of gasping, cheering and pointing each time a competitor cleared a jump! The Royal Parks is confident that with the carefully implemented mitigation measures and agreed restoration activities, the park will recover very quickly."
Will Connell, British Equestrian Federation World Class Performance Director said: "The test event exceeded expectations and was a fantastic three days of equestrian sport. I am convinced that this will be an outstanding Olympic and Paralympic venue."
By 06.30 this morning, all three gates on the east side of the Park were opened, following the end of the use of the wider park for Cross Country, allowing Greenwich Park users to move easily from East to West. Venue staff was also able to open a large part of the south east corner of the park ahead of time.
The venue will now enter a transition phase as it is prepared for the run/ laser shooting and riding aspects of the Modern Pentathlon test event, the UIPM World Cup Final, on 9-10 July featuring 72 athletes. Swimming and fencing will take place at Crystal Palace, a non-Olympic venue. Spectators planning to visit Greenwich Park for the second day of competition, on Sunday 10 July, should note the DLR will be closed until midday.
Equestrian will return to Greenwich Park in 2012 from Saturday 28 July Ã¯¿½ 9 August for next year's Olympic Games. For more information visit: http://www.london2012.com/greenwichparkback to top