For the past three days, 2000 kilometers from Beijing Hong Kong experienced its own taste of Olympic flavour despite testing conditions and concerns over security breaches the HKSAR tenth anniversary cup went ahead without major incident and was a sample of what is to come in just twelve months from now. Joining nearly one thousand police officers, jockeys and trainers from around the world made the journey to Sha Tin on both Saturday and Monday while Sunday’s Olympic test event will bewas staged in the jockey clubs Beas river valleyvenue. Curious spectators and fans also broke brave the weekend’s weather to cheer on their favourite horses. The event also dubbed as ‘Good luck Beijing’ comprised three different Equestrian disciplines - dressage, cross-country and show jumping. Along with some of the major names from the world stage, Para-Olympic observers and local riders were also present. International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge was clearly impressed with the arrangements and the facilities. He said that he thought Hong Kong was on course to stage an absolutely fabulous event next year and he wasn’t the only one.
Howard Green [Hong Kong], “But I think what they’ve done today with your organization it should be a really good event next year. Done a great job in putting it all together.”
Blyth Tait [Former World No. 1], “Well I am hoping that with this competition this year, people would get a taste for eventing in Hong Kong, that’s a very exciting sport.”
The riders also seemed happy saying that it was good preparation for 2008, the only negative being a somewhat subdued atmosphere.
Dirk Schrade [Germany], “Spectators just need to learn a little bit more cheering and shouting, they really behave well.”
After the dressage it was infact Germany’s Dirk Schrade on grand armour who led. Then after the cross-country it was his compatriot Frank Astalt on after the battle he was out in front and in the end after the show-jumping event it was Astalt who emerged as the overall leader. Many agreed the event was a great success and one rider just couldn’t wait to get back in the saddle again. Tara Delaney [Hong Kong], “It’s been ran very well, it’s been a lot of fun and a great experience. I wish we could do it again. So again, next week, I would be very happy even though if I’ve had about three hours sleep every night.”
But for those who couldn’t make it, there’s no need for a long face, it’s just one year left before the famous Olympic torch comes to town. For the South China Morning Post, this is James Moore.