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  • Equestrian Federation Convenes Heat and Humidity Workshop


    02/16/08

    Sha Tin will host the jumping and dressage events in Hong Kong. (Getty Images)
    (ATR) The International Equestrian Federation stages an Olympics workshop Sunday to address concerns about heat and humidity issues at the Summer Games venues in Hong Kong.

    Some 160 participants are expected to attend the Lausanne meeting. It is designed to deliver the latest scientific research and advice on managing the difficult climatic conditions horses and riders will experience in Hong Kong.

    Representatives from national federations, including team managers, veterinarians and riders, are taking part. A delegation of officials from the Equestrian Company, set up by BOCOG to organize Olympic equestrian events, will be in attendance.

    Hong Kong Jockey Club, which is hosting the events at venues in Sha Tin and Beas River, is sending officials to participate.

    FEI president Princess Haya also will be present.

    Although the FEI holds pre-Olympics meetings before every Games, this one has taken on greater significance due to concerns expressed by many federations about summer weather conditions in Hong Kong.

    Temperatures are likely to soar to 35 degrees Celsius, or more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while humidity levels around 90 percent are expected.

    “We know the climate in Hong Kong in August is very difficult, very hot and humid. There may be a typhoon as was the case during the test event last year,” FEI spokeswoman Malina Gueorguiev tells Around the Rings.

    “There are contingency plans with three extra days built into the schedule,” she said.

    Riders and horses will have to compete with competitors as well as with Hong Kong’s climate. (Getty Images)
    “We have to run our event safely so no damage is caused the horses' welfare,” Gueorguiev added.

    “If we don't do things the way we should, it could be dangerous for them.”

    The FEI felt a special workshop was needed to bring recent research to the attention of federations to ease their fears. The Swiss dressage team recently withdrew from the Games because of weather concerns.

    “The meeting is not a response to a crisis,” Gueorguiev stressed.

    “It's to make federations aware that everyone has to do their homework and take things
    Last year’s Good Luck Beijing test event dodged severe weather that plagued Hong Kong just 24 hours earlier. (Getty Images)
    very seriously.”

    Woon-kwong Lam, CEO of the Equestrian Company, is one of the keynote speakers. He will outline Hong Kong's preparations for the Games.

    The findings of a two-year weather study carried out by the Hong Kong Observatory will be unveiled at the meeting.

    Results from research undertaken at the equestrian test event last August are also being presented. Gueorguiev said the test event “went really well”.

    Other subjects up for discussion are: equine quarantine and bio security management; horse transportation logistics; veterinary facilities; and air-conditioned facilities and cooling stations.

    After lunch participants will be invited to share their views and concerns in a discussion forum. There will also be the opportunity to talk one-to-one with the experts.

    Princess Haya is expected to participate in a press conference wrapping up the day's activities.

    With reporting from Mark Bisson .

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