Equestrian excitement at full gallop
Hong Kong, which held various Olympian Equestrian Events during August, is also hosting the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Sha Tin Park from September 7 to 11.
Horse riding buffs from around the world have been focused on the Olympic equestrian competition, and local enthusiasts forecast the games will further promote the discipline in the city.
Experts have hailed the organisation of Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events in Hong Kong and its facilities, saying the city has the capability of holding more world class horse riding competitions.
Hong Kong’s para-equestrian team leader Michael Lee and equestrian ambassador Wendy Yu are two of the veteran riders who have supported the city’s hosting of the events.
Lee praised Hong Kong’s high efficiency in preparing for the Games, saying it is amazing the city has completed the complicated job in less than three years.
The veteran rider who also participated in last year’s Good Luck Beijing Cup in Hong Kong said the city’s equestrian venues and support facilities meet the highest international standards.
He said the excellent work done by the Equestrian Company, Jockey Club and Equestrian Federation was augmented by the professional input offered by international experts, making Hong Kong's events comparable to major overseas ones.
“The events have given us an opportunity to show Hong Kong’s ability to organise major sports competitions,” Lee said. “I hope Hong Kong will continue to host international equestrian games regularly, attracting top overseas riders to showcase their spectacular techniques. I also hope equestrian sports will become more common in Hong Kong.”
Television celebrity Wendy Yu has been made an equestrian ambassador for her enthusiasm for the sport. She said co-hosting the Olympic equestrian events is a precious opportunity.
Equestrian disciplines can be learned at more than 10 venues in the city, with numerous horse riding schools run by the Jockey Club and other private organisations fully enrolled with long waiting lists.
Noting sport improves people's health and mood, Ms Yu urged equestrian learners to continue their enthusiasm after the Olympics to keep the discipline alive in Hong Kong.
Lee added, “More people are learning about the sport, so I am optimistic on its future development in the city.”