Hong Kong Olympic Equestrian Venue Changes Hands

The Hong Kong Jockey Club yesterday handed over the Olympic equestrian venue at Sha Tin to the organizers of the Olympic Equestrian Events.

"The Hong Kong Jockey Club made the decision to build the best venues for the Olympic horses and riders to support Beijing's vision of staging the best Olympics and, even though we had less than two years to achieve it, we believe that we've more than lived up to the task," said T. Brian Stevenson, the club's deputy chairman.

Stevenson said the club invested more than HK$1.2 billion ($1.5 million U.S.) in the Olympic equestrian venues.

"The venue has been specially designed so that it's very 'horse-friendly,'" said HKSAR Chief Secretary for Administration, Henry Tang. "There are a number of world firsts: everything from the stables environment, training facilities, horse transport, equine sample testing, waste recycling, as well as measures to combat the bad weather."

The Hong Kong Jockey Club hands over the keys to the Olympic venue

Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, hands over the Olympic venue "key" to Equestrian Company CEO Lam Woon-kwong.

The Hong Kong Olympic equestrian venue at Sha Tin is where most of the Olympic equestrian competitions will be staged Aug. 9-21. The all-weather surface main arena has grandstand seating for around 18,000 spectators. The venue also includes air-conditioned accommodation for the horses, a dedicated equine clinic and farriery, 13 training arenas--including the first Olympic air-conditioned indoor training arena--a cross-country training track and a gallop track, as well as a bridle path for relaxation in the infield of Sha Tin Racecourse.

Four equine cooling stations, including misting tents and plentiful supplies of chilled water, are located around the venue to cool the Olympic horses after training or competition. Mobile cooling units, another unique feature, will also be in use throughout the Olympics and Paralympics.

The club's equine hospital will be on-call for treatment of the Olympic horses, while the club's racing laboratory will test samples from the Olympic horses.

The venue at Beas River, where the cross-country section of the eventing competition will be held Aug. 11, will be handed over to the equestrian company next month.

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