New York - With two years to go before the 2008 Olympics, works is progressing well on facilities for the equestrian events to be held in Hong Kong.
Work started this month on the main stables and supporting training facilities at Penfold Park, a popular recreation area located in the middle of Sha Tin Racecourse.
Construction will include a cross-country training track, a bridle trail and four sand training arenas. Work is due to be finished by the end of February next year.
Two training areas for show jumping and dressage – one grass and one sand – have already been completed at the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI), which adjoins the Sha Tin Racecourse.
The HKSI will house the main competition arena - with seating for about 19,000 - as well as more than 10 training grounds for show jumping and dressage, more than 200 stables, and offices for event management officials.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), the venue provider for the 2008 Olympic equestrian events, said all key contracts had now been awarded.
The HKJC has committed to provide between approximately US$90 – US$100 million (HK$700 million and $800 million) to construct all venues for the equestrian competition.
The cross-country section of the Three-Day Event will be held at the Hong Kong Golf Club and adjoining Beas River Country Club in Fanling, in the northern part of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Work on the 5,700-metre cross-country course started in April, with drainage improvement works due to start next month.
All major facilities will be ready by August next year – a year ahead of the Olympic competition – so trial events can be held in comparable weather conditions.
The International Olympic Committee announced in July 2005 its approval for Hong Kong to stage the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events.
The Equestrian Events (HK) of the Games of XXIX Olympiad Company Limited will be responsible for organizing the events for both the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics.