London’s parks in Olympic bid

  • Central London’s famous Royal Parks could become venues for the equestrian events if Britain’s capital city is chosen to host the 2012 Olympics.

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is said to welcome the use of temporary structures for major stadia for the Games, to avoid leaving unsustainable “white elephants” behind.

    British Equestrian Federation chief executive Andrew Finding, chairman of a working party preparing to submit a short-list of possible venues to the British Olympic Association (BOA), says: “The shift away from the ‘grand establishments’ traditionally associated with the Olympics has created the scope to consider equestrian venues in and around the capital itself.

    “There is a large acreage of parkland around London that may be suitable, and the bid company has already suggested that it would welcome suggested venues with the type of attractive backdrop that central London can provide.”

    The IOC has stated that it prefers as many sports as possible to be within 30min of the Olympic village, which would be situated in Lea Valley, East London — ruling out many established equestrian venues — although it is acknowledged that for some sports (such as sailing) this is not possible.

    For now, the working party, which, as well as Finding, includes Simon Brooks-Ward (show jumping facilities), David Holmes (dressage) and Tim Hadaway (eventing), must make its choices, and then submit final recommendations to the BOA by the end of September.

    The IOC will see the proposals in January before discussions with the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) as to the suitability of the venues.

    Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (4 September), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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