Under sunny skies, 39 competitors entered the purpose built arena for the first time, as they competed for top spot in the Greenwich Park Eventing Invitational, as well as playing a vital part in testing the Olympic venue just over a year before the Games kick off next July.
After the first day of competition, British rider Piggy French had a commanding lead in the dressage, with Australian Clayton Fredericks lying in second and Germany's reigning world champion Michael Jung third.
The competitors were impressed both with Greenwich Park as a venue and the competition itself. British rider William Fox-Pitt said of the day: 'Wow, it has an Olympic feel already and this is just a test event. The (arena) surface is lovely with a bounce in it it’s so much kinder and more forgiving on the horses.'
And current leader Piggy French showed her excited about the event: “It’s got me hyped up. It’s surreal: all the same faces as if we were in a muddy field like last week, but you look to the right and there’s the City of London. I think it’s amazing; there’s a real buzz even though it’s a test event, and I hope it will bring more public interest and help people see what a fabulous sport this is.'
Debbie Jevans, Director of Sport at LOCOG said of the first day of competition: 'With one year to go just around the corner, it was fantastic to see high level sporting competition at one of our Olympic venues. Fully testing a venue is vital, and the first day of competition has gone well. It is fantastic to see our team down at Greenwich Park doing such a great job and the spectators soaking up the atmosphere and views at one of our most spectacular venues.'
Tomorrow sees riders tackle the Cross Country course on the second day of competition in Greenwich Park, with the Jumping taking place on Wednesday.
The Olympic Equestrian test event, part of the London Prepares Series, focuses on testing the sporting field of play, results, timing, scoring systems and workforce. It also offers 39 riders from 23 countries the chance to assess the terrain they will tackle next summer, as well as giving local residents and members of the equestrian community the chance to see world class sporting action a year ahead of the Games.
The London Prepares Series involves over 10,000 volunteers, 8,000 athletes from more than 50 countries and more than 250,000 spectators as part of a 12 month rehearsal for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in a programme of test events that run through to May 2012.
– ENDS –
For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call the LOCOG Press Office on 0203 2012 100.
Notes to editors:
Dates of other test events taking place in Greenwich are: Gymnastics, Olympic Qualifiers, 10-18 January 2012, North Greenwich Arena. Shooting, ISSF World Cup, 18-29 April 2012, Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich.
As it heads towards its £2bn budget for staging the Olympic and Paralympic Games, LOCOG has seven domestic Tier One Partners - adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds TSB. There are seven domestic Tier Two Supporters – Adecco, ArcelorMittal, Cadbury, Cisco, Deloitte, Thomas Cook and UPS. There are now twenty-five domestic Tier Three Suppliers and Providers – Aggreko, Airwave, Atkins, Boston Consulting Group, CBS Outdoor, Crystal CG, Eurostar, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, G4S, GSK, Gymnova, Heineken UK, Holiday Inn, John Lewis, McCann Worldgroup, Mondo, Next, The Nielsen Company, Populous, Rapiscan Systems, Rio Tinto, Technogym, Thames Water, Ticketmaster and Trebor.
There is one domestic Tier One Paralympic Games Partner, Sainsbury’s and one domestic Tier Three Paralympic Supplier, Otto Bock.
The Worldwide Olympic Partners signed up for London 2012 are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos Origin, Dow Chemical Company, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter and Gamble, Samsung and Visa.