Concerns Rio’s equestrian site will not be ready for Olympics

  • As horses changed hands ahead of last week’s Olympic transfer deadline (15 January), there were concerns the Rio site would not be ready.

    Reports from Brazil suggest there are some issues with the refurbishments of the equestrian centre that will host the Olympic events in August.

    However, the FEI is confident these will soon be resolved.

    “There have been some delays to completion of a number of Olympic venues, including the Deodoro equestrian venue,” an FEI spokesman told H&H yesterday (Monday, 18 January).

    “Rio 2016 has given assurances that all venues will be completed in time for the Olympic Games. FEI HQ representatives and the technical delegates will be making regular visits to the venue to monitor progress over the coming months.

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    “The International Olympic Committee is holding a meeting with all summer Olympic international federations in early February, and the Rio 2016 organising committee will provide a detailed update on the overall situation.”

    This is not the first time there have been concerns surrounding the Olympic venue in Rio.

    Rumours circulated in October that the equestrian events might have to take place outside the host country after it was revealed that the equine health certificate needed by Brazil still hadn’t been finalised.

    This is due to strict quarantine laws involving travelling horses from Europe, the US and Canada.

    However, an agreement has was reached between the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and the EU, which means that the horses competing at the Olympic Games will be able to travel to and from Brazil without any trouble.

    And in August a surprise glanders scare at the site, which organisers kept under wraps for several months, caused concern within the equestrian industry.

    The Brazilian government has been criticised by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) chief Dr Bernard Vallat for not being “more transparent about the situation”.

    The Rio 2016 Olympic equestrian action gets underway on 6 August at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in the Deodoro Olympic Park.

    “Brazil is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world and, just like the equestrian community, the Brazilian people are vibrant and welcoming”, said Pedro Veniss, who was part of the Brazilian showjumping team at the 2008 Olympic Games.

    “Our melting pot of cultures in Brazil and in our sport is very exciting. As a Brazilian equestrian athlete, I am so proud that we are staging the first Games in South America and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

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