Badminton director Hugh Thomas has resigned from his technical role at London 2012 over organisers’ decision to bar spectators from the horse inspections. In a letter to Greenwich venue manager, Tim Hadaway — seen by H&H — Hugh said he was “horrified” to hear that organisers, LOCOG, would not be admitting the public to the eventing horse inspections.
“I truly think this is a disgraceful decision,” said Hugh. “It particularly upsets me since, when I was course designer, technical delegate and then chairman of the FEI eventing committee, I personally ensured at previous Games — despite the wishes of the organisers — that the great tradition within eventing that the inspections are open and transparent should be upheld,” he added.
Hugh told H&H that it was important the inspections remained open to ensure the integrity of the process. “It is also a traditional and hugely enjoyed part of three-day events,” he added.
LOCOG said a number of operational factors precluded the inspections from being open to the public.
In a statement, it said: “The horse inspection happens on the day of London’s Olympic opening ceremony and the final day of the torch relay so there is a lot of Olympic activity in the capital and a big demand on police resources and public transport. “An operational decision was taken not to open this to the public for these reasons.”
But Hugh said that was a “very bad decision”. “They’re not even allowing people to see the final horse inspection on the morning of the showjumping, which is beyond a joke,” he told H&H. “It only means they’ve got to open the venue a little earlier — there is a huge number of enthusiasts who want to come,” he added.
LOCOG said it accepted Hugh’s resignation. He was a member of the Ad Hoc committee, which exists to referee major disputes and investigate serious accidents.
Hugh told H&H he and his wife had tickets and would be attending the event in a personal capacity.
Photo: Hugh Thomas