Greenwich Park given final seal of approval for London 2012 by FEI
Saturday, 21 July 2012
July 21 - The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has given Greenwich Park the green light to host the Olympic and Paralympic equestrian competitions at London 2012 after carrying out a final assessment on the all-weather footing at the venue.
The surface at Greenwich Park was changed after last year's test event following feedback from officials and riders who were not entirely happy with it.
The new surface is a mixture of sand and fibre that has been further improved by the addition of a binder and it was assessed using two high-level competition horses which worked on the surface and jumped fences.
FEI representatives for the assessment were technical advisor Leopoldo Palacios, jumping technical delegate Frank Rothenberger and footing experts Oliver Hoberg and Bart Poels while London 2012 course designer Bob Ellis was also present.
All were unanimous in their view that the footing is up to the quality expected of an Olympic Games and performs consistently across the full extent of the arena as well as on the training and warm-up areas.
The conclusions of those present following the visual assessment of the horses jumping were also supported by the scientific work carried out on the surface by Professor Lars Roepstorff from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, who has been researching properties of equestrian surfaces around the world as part of a long-term scientific footing study for the FEI.
The scientific work indicated that the London 2012 footing is amongst the best ever used in an equestrian competition, a view supported by attending FEI representatives.
Approximately 8,500 tonnes of the surface will now be used at Greenwich Park.
"A lot of work has been done on this footing with the involvement of many experts and we are really happy with the final result", said FEI secretary general Ingmar De Vos.
"It is the first time that there has been such a scientific approach to footing and hopefully this will be part of the long-term legacy as it helps us to determine the parameters that can be used in the future to establish scientifically approved criteria for optimal footing."
Debbie Jevans, the London 2012 director of sport, was equally delighted following the assessment.
"With support from the FEI, the contractors and our own team have done a great job to get the make-up of the surface right," she said.
"We now believe this will be a world class surface for the equestrian athletes in a stunning Olympic venue."