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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
China Wants Equestrian Events in Hong Kong
Mon Apr 11,11:42 AM ET
AP

LONDON - Beijing organizers want to move equestrian events at the 2008 Olympics to Hong Kong — more than 1,240 miles from the host city.

The organizers submitted the proposal to the International Equestrian Federation, citing the risk of equine diseases and problems with quarantine regulations in the Chinese capital.

The international federation, known as FEI, opposes relocation. The issue will come up before the International Olympic Committee executive board in Berlin next week.

The Beijing committee said it had "underestimated the veterinary issue of temporary import of horses in China and presented an alternative plan for hosting the equestrian competitions in Hong Kong," the FEI said Sunday.

FEI vice president Freddie Serpieri said if there were a venue change the repercussions for the sport would be "very grave."

Wei Wang, secretary-general of the Beijing committee, told the FEI that moving the events was necessary because of "uncertainties of equine diseases and major difficulties in establishing a disease-free zone." Wei said 17 equine diseases are prevalent in Beijing and other mainland Chinese cities.

Hong Kong, which reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997, is a 3 1/2-hour flight from Beijing. The proposed venue for the Olympic equestrian competition is the Sha Tin racecourse and surrounding Penfold Park.

The equestrian events have been scheduled for the Beijing Country Equestrian Park in northern Beijing — 21 miles from the Olympic Village.

When Melbourne hosted the 1956 Olympics, equestrian events were held in Sweden because of quarantine restrictions in Australia.

The FEI also agreed at its London meeting to ask the IOC to reduce the number of Olympic dressage teams per nation to allow more countries to compete.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
HK Olympics bid 'looks a winner'
Murray Bell
13 April 2005
South China Morning Post

The board of the International Olympic Committee is almost certain to name Hong Kong as the venue for all equestrian events at the 2008 Games after it meets next week.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club's presentation to the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) in London on Saturday was so impressive that key delegates believe the announcement in Berlin next week is a mere formality.

The IOC has asked the Jockey Club not to discuss the matter publicly, but one southern hemisphere delegate who viewed the presentation described it as a winner.

"It was the most impressive presentation we have ever seen in the equestrian arena," the delegate said.

The Jockey Club has taken a lead role in creating a plan that would harness facilities of Sha Tin racecourse, the infield Penfold Park and the neighbouring Sports Institute for most equestrian events.

For the cross-country events, a course and facilities will be constructed at the Jockey Club's property at Beas River, and will involve part of the land owned by the Hong Kong Golf Club.

The Sports Institute, which boasts a 20,000-capacity stadium and an air-conditioned indoor riding hall, is proposed as the site for the dressage events.

Jockey Club executive director of racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges returned from making the presentation yesterday. He said the Jockey Club's proposed role was only that of a venue provider - it would not be running the event.

"If the bid is successful, the upside for the Jockey Club is that after the Olympics have finished, we will have some significantly upgraded facilities at Sha Tin," he said.

"There would be the possibility of conducting more international racing, and a greater number of stables would give us some valuable flexibility if we ever need to increase the horse population."

In making his proposal, the secretary-general of the Beijing organising committee, Wang Wei , said moving the events was necessary because of "the uncertainty of equine diseases and the difficulty of establishing a disease-free zone".

Seventeen equine diseases are prevalent in Beijing and other cities on the mainland.

Hong Kong would not be the only city outside Beijing to host events. The port of Qingdao will stage sailing events, while soccer games will be played in five cities.

When Melbourne hosted the 1956 Olympics, equestrian events were held in Sweden because of quarantine restrictions in Australia.

Additional reporting by Associated Press
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Move horse events, says Games chief
Sylvia Hui, Hong Kong Standard
June 1, 2005

It will be "highly risky" for Beijing to host the equestrian events at the 2008 Olympics, according to an International Olympics Committee executive member and Beijing Olympics official.

Yu Zaiqing, executive member of the IOC and Chinese Olympic Committee vice-chairman, reiterated Tuesday Beijing's stance that the equestrian events be moved to Hong Kong because of equine-disease risks.

He said Hong Kong has the ability to host the events instead of Beijing.

His comments came amid widespread speculation that the IOC will announce the location of the equestrian events this week, ending weeks of second guessing.

Speaking in Beijing, he said that moving the events to Hong Kong is the right decision, and that the International Equestrian Federation - which opposes holding the events in Hong Kong - must accept that China's horses are used mainly for agricultural purposes and carry equine-disease risks.

"We are a developing country ... that equine diseases exist in this country is a fact. If we don't welcome other places hosting the event, we will be taking a very big risk," he said.

The IEF, however, maintains that moving the event to Hong Kong will cut it off from the Olympics.

That opposition has led the Games' organizing committee to postpone its decision on the request by Beijing to move the equestrian events.

Hong Kong Olympic Committee president Timothy Fok, in Beijing for meetings with Games officials, said he is optimistic the IFE can be persuaded, and hopes a decision will be announced soon.

Edwin McAuley, vice-president of the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation, said his organization is in "total support" of the bid to move the events to the territory, although there are "different opinions" within the group.

"It is inevitable for an organization with more than 300 members to have different opinions,'' he said Tuesday.

"Some have concerns about climatic issues and some are concerned that the Games should take place in one city.''

But he stressed that Hong Kong has the historical advantage and facilities to host the events.

"The sport goes back to the beginnings of the Jockey Club. [It] has excellent facilities, and Hong Kong has lots of expertise.''

The government and Jockey Club propose that the core competition venue should consist of the Sha Tin racecourse, Penfold Park and the Hong Kong Sports Institute.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Olympic equestrian events will bring in $351m, says Ho
Teddy Ng, Hong Kong Standard
July 7, 2005


At least 300 horses and 1,150 athletes would come to Hong Kong should it host the Olympic equestrian events in 2008.

Hosting the 2008 Olympic equestrian events could bring up to HK$351 million to Hong Kong, Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho said Wednesday.

The International Olympic Committee is expected to announce Friday whether the SAR can host the event as part of the 2008 Beijing Games.

Ho estimated that at least 300 horses and 1,150 athletes would come to Hong Kong should it host the events.

In addition, Hong Kong could expect between 9,700 and 31,900 visitors, including the management and technical staff of the International Olympic Committee, supporters of the various teams and representatives from overseas media organizations.

Ho said hosting the event would also reflect the growing recognition of, and the importance attached to, the mainland on the international stage and enhance public interest in sports.

Should Hong Kong be allowed to host the events, the Sports Institute at Sha Tin will be the venue for dressage and show-jumping events.

The Beas River Country Club and part of the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling will be used for the cross-country events.

The Sports Institute, which is the main training ground for eight of the 15 elite sports in Hong Kong, will be temporarily vacated from early 2007 to the end of 2008.

This has sparked fears among local athletes that their training for the Beijing Olympics will be severely affected.

Legislator Lee Cheuk-yan criticized the government for seeking international honor, while ignoring the needs of athletes. "I cannot understand why the government insists on hosting the equestrian events without considering the needs of our elite athletes," Lee said.

"Hong Kong can still win glory if any of these athletes get a medal at the Olympics. It seems that the government is only interested in seeking honor for itself."

In a bid to appease the athletes, Ho said the government would use the opportunity to upgrade and modernize training facilities for sports.

He said the government plans to upgrade some facilities of Wu Kai Sha Youth Village and other sporting venues managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

The Cornwall Street Squash and Table Tennis Centre in Kowloon Tong will also be used as a training venue.

Ho said the Sports Institute only has eight table-tennis tables, while the Kowloon Tong center has 16 and capacity to increase to 24 tables.

Other venues include the Kowloon Tsai Park Tennis Court, St Stephen Beach Water Sports Center and Tai Mei Tuk Water Sports Center.

Ho said training venues will provide fitness, resting, storage and car parking facilities.

Shuttle bus services between Wu Kai Sha Youth Village and the training facilities will also be provided.

Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Lolly Chiu said 15 elite sports associations had agreed that the youth village was a suitable training venue.

She said the government would continue consulting with associations to decide how best to upgrade facilities.

Ho said the Jockey Club had agreed to pay for the equestrian-related facilities at the Sports Institute, while the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the 29th Olympiad will pay for upgrading other training venues. The amount required for the upgrading has not been decided, Ho said.

After the events end in September 2008, all indoor facilities and most of the outdoor ones at the Sports Institute will be reinstated and suitably upgraded.

"The government understands that the proposal to use the Sports Institute might arouse concern among athletes, and that it is necessary to address their dissatisfaction," Ho said.

"It is necessary to conduct a comprehensive review of the Sports Institute and facilities to work out the way forward and a definite timetable so that elite athletes will be provided with the best training environment," he said.

Ho said the hosting of the equestrian events was not a matter of seeking honor for himself or the SAR government, but to enhance recognition of sports among the public.

In Singapore, International Equestrian Federation president Dona Pilar de Borbon said a decision on whether the SAR can host events will be made Friday.

"Hong Kong does not need any advice. It is very good," she said.

Timothy Fok, president of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, said the International Olympic Committee was concerned about the atmosphere in the SAR for the events.

"The committee gives major consideration to the atmosphere of Hong Kong. The support of the community and the whole sports sector will be very important," he said.
 

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6,22,23,66,69,72,111,160
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I think the equestrian events should be held in Beijing rather in HK. I don't know, but I feel sorry for China wants it here and ashamed when we beg for the event.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Beijing actually approached Hong Kong to host the equestrian events since it cannot guarantee a disease-free zone for horses in Beijing. The IOC should announce today whether they'll move the sport to Hong Kong for 2008.
 

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hkskyline said:
Beijing actually approached Hong Kong to host the equestrian events since it cannot guarantee a disease-free zone for horses in Beijing. The IOC should announce today whether they'll move the sport to Hong Kong for 2008.
.....while they guarantee the Olympic will be a successful one?...

That's just an excuse. While they have time to be able to build all the infrastructure it will need by 2008, they can't simply build a facility that deals with horses?....

Anyway, I support HK to host the event but I just don't like the way the media keep on asking whether HK will or won't, it's embarrassing~
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The problem is not building a facility for horses. Equestrian officials needed Beijing to ensure the area is quarantined. Horse-racing is not a major sport in China, so facilities are lacking and the Olympic organizers could not guarantee a disease-free area. As a result, they turned to Hong Kong, with its horse-racing facilities, to host the event.

It is the disease-handling part of equestrian that was problematic, especially when horses will be brought from abroad to China, and not an issue of whether a facility can be built or not. Beijing could not ensure that diseases can be prevented from spreading among horses during the Olympics, but Hong Kong is far more experienced in horse-racing so HK is more capable of handling these issues.
 

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I wasn't even aware there was horse-racing in the Olympics... how many people actually care about this event?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
sfgadv02 said:
When can we actually know if HK is hosting the horce-racing event or not?
The IOC is expected to announce a decision this week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Equestrian Events to Be Held in Hong Kong
By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer
Fri Jul 8, 4:52 AM ET

SINGAPORE - Equestrian events for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing will be held in Hong Kong for the "best interests of the competition and the well-being of the horses," the International Olympic Committee announced Friday.

The agreement finalized Beijing's push to have the equestrian competition moved from the Chinese capital.

"Let me be very clear in that everyone would have wished that the competition could have been in Beijing," International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said at an IOC meeting in Singapore where the decision was announced.

"Sanitary problems make this very difficult and by mutual agreement (the groups) have decided to move to Hong Kong," he said.

IOC Coordination Commission chairman Hein Verbruggen announced the switch during IOC meetings in Singapore.

"We are confident there will be a wonderful Olympic equestrian competition in Hong Kong. The agreement on the location for the equestrian event means the locations for all Beijing 2008 competitions have now been finalized, allowing progress in all areas of Games preparation," Verbruggen said.

The international equestrian federation had originally objected to the move, but accepted the decision after the Beijing organizing committee, BOCOG, made guarantees regarding the venue.

FEI president Infanta Dona Pilar said BOCOG had assured the federation of the best conditions for riders and horses in Hong Kong.

"This has always been our main objective. We are confident that BOCOG and Hong Kong will ensure the stage is set for excellent equestrian competition in Hong Kong," Pilar said.

The Chinese organizers lobbied hard for the switch, saying 17 equine diseases are prevalent in Beijing and other mainland Chinese cities.

This won't be the first time the equestrian events are held at a different site than the rest of the Summer Games.

In 1956, the Games were held at Melbourne from Nov. 22-Dec. 8, but the equestrian events were staged in Stockholm in June. Australian quarantine laws were too severe to allow the entry of the horses.

Pilar said her federation planned to work with BOCOG in setting up an equestrian training and competition center outside Beijing as a legacy of the games. The center, whose location will be decided next year, would be surrounded by a 6-mile disease-free zone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Jockey Club pushes to keep Olympic venue
Norma Connolly and Winnie Yeung
9 July 2005
South China Morning Post

In return for paying up to $800 million to stage the 2008 Olympic equestrian events, the Jockey Club is likely to get a 40,000 square metre chunk of Sports Institute land.

Jockey Club chairman Ronald Arculli admitted yesterday the club was in talks with the government to get permanent use of two soccer pitches and a golf driving range - now part of the institute's training grounds - which will be used to provide facilities for the Games.

Mr Arculli was speaking after the announcement that Hong Kong would host the equestrian events for the Beijing Games.

The Jockey Club first approached the government about acquiring permanent use of the land in May this year, a government spokeswoman said.

In early 2007, the Jockey Club will take over the Sports Institute grounds, where many of Hong Kong's elite athletes train for their own Olympic sports, and renovate them to host the equestrian events.

The soccer pitches and golf range - 30 per cent of the Sports Institute's 144,000 square metre outdoor area - will be transformed into 192 stables for the scores of horses that will take part in the event.

Mr Arculli said the Jockey Club would return the property to the Sports Institute at the end of 2008, but said of the pitches and golf range: "We are in the process of talking to the Lands Department, whether, in the long term, if we wanted to continue to use that facility, whether it is possible."

He insisted the Jockey Club was not funding the Olympic event simply to procure the land. He said he understood that the pitches and golf range were not heavily used by the institute and giving them up would not affect the institute's operations.

However, Malina Ngai Man-lin, vice-chairwoman of the Hong Kong Elite Athletes Association, said she was disappointed the government was considering giving the land to the Jockey Club because it meant the athletes would return to far smaller facilities at the end of 2008. She admitted the golf driving range, formerly a softball pitch, was underused, but said the pitches were used for cross-training by many athletes at the institute and was also rented out the public to raise funds.

Institute chairman Eric Li Ka-cheung said the sports community may have to accept a less-than-desirable situation. "None of us wanted to initiate the whole thing," he said of Hong Kong's quest to get the events. "But we have to accept it if this is what the HK people want."

Moving the institute to Wu Kai Sha Youth Village in Ma On Shan would pose a challenge to sportsmen used to their facilities.

The Frontier legislator Lee Cheuk-yan called on the Jockey Club and the government to adhere to usual bidding practice for government land. "The government should not just allocate the land to the Jockey Club because it has helped in funding this particular equestrian event."

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge will arrive in Hong Kong tomorrow for a three-day visit during which he will tour sport facilities in the city.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said hosting the events was an honour for Hong Kong and a milestone in its sport history.
 

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That should bring some decent international coverage to HK...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
July 9, 2005
Equestrian events to raise HK's int'l status
Government Press Release

Secretary for Home Affairs Dr Patrick Ho says the 2008 Olympic equestrian events held in Hong Kong will raise the city's international status and arouse public awareness of sports development.

Speaking on a radio talk show this morning, Dr Ho said the events will also take Hong Kong's sports policy to a higher level, allowing the Government to seek more resources to promote sports and cater for athletes' long-term development.

Noting the Sports Institute will have to be vacated and converted into an Olympic-standard arena for the events, the secretary ensured that during the short reprovisioning period, athletes will be provided with a stable training environment that meets their needs.

The Wu Kai Sha Youth Village to be equipped with new sports facilities will become the athletes' main training venue. Other Leisure & Cultural Services Department venues will also provide the athletes all necessary facilities.

Dr Ho said the Beijing Organising Committee for the 29th Olympiad Games will be responsible for the institute's reprovisioning expenses while the Hong Kong Jockey Club will reinstate and upgrade the institute's facilities before handing them back to the institute.
 
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