Greenwich Park will prove a “magnificent” and “impressive” site at which to watch Olympic equestrianism in 2012 — so say eventer Lucy Wiegersma and show jumper Tim Stockdale, who were given a preview of the park on Wednesday 4 November.
Twenty-six riders and officials from dressage, eventing, show jumping and para-equestrianism were taken round the park by the equestrian competition manager for the Games Tim Hadaway.
The venue remains a controversial choice with locals.
Lucy was selected for the 2008 Olympics, but missed out because her horse Shaabrak went lame the month before.
She told H&H it was a shame the Games will leave no “concrete” legacy for equestrianism — Greenwich is a temporary site — but added: “I can see why it was chosen. It’s a very impressive venue and, on balance, it is the right choice.
“It will be a tight site [for a cross-country course] but will be testing physically and from a design point of view it is very exciting because of the wealth of natural features.”
Her views were echoed by Tim Stockdale, who said: “I was not aware of the park’s sheer magnificence, tradition and heritage. It has fabulous buildings and I believe will have a lot of soul.”
And para-equestrian Sophie Wells said that seeing the park would encourage her to train even harder to ensure she made the team.
The London Olympic organising committee, LOCOG, will submit its planning application covering the cross-country course, a stadium, stabling and all the other facilities needed for the Games to Greenwich Council at the end of the month.
It expects to hear their decision in March.
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (12 November, ’09)