Six years to the day since London won the Olympic bid, competition moved back into the main arena yesterday following Tuesday's cross-country discipline. British rider Piggy French claimed overall victory after leading since the first day of competition.
She said: 'As you walk into the park you get goosebumps. The organisers have done a great job with the stabling, the arenas and the cross-country course. It's going to be fabulous and I can’t wait to come back.'
As you walk into the park you get goosebumps. The organisers have done a great job with the stabling, the arenas and the cross-country course. It's going to be fabulous and I can’t wait to come backPiggy French
Earlier in the week, the first day of competition saw 36 athletes compete in the dressage element. Crowds were treated to a great show in the arena which introduced the innovative purpose-made platform, made from plywood, aluminium and steel and held above ground by 2,100 pillars.
Day two extended out to the wider park for the cross-country competition. Groups of school children, equestrian enthusiasts and local residents gathered at the 19 jumps located around the 2.8km course to watch the riders and horses tackle water obstacles, jumps, slopes and hills.
Debbie Jevans, LOCOG Director of Sport, gave her synopsis of the event: 'A lot of hard work has gone into delivering this successful test event in such a wonderful Park. We will now conduct thorough debriefs so that we can fine tune our plans to ensure we deliver a fantastic event in 2012. We have worked closely with The Royal Parks and with all our stakeholders to ensure that the integrity of the Park has and will be maintained. We thank them all for their support in bringing equestrian sport to Greenwich Park for the first time.'
Meeting the aspirations of London 2012 organisers, the test event was successful in introducing Equestrian and an iconic venue to the residents and school children of Greenwich. The three-day competition also gave riders and horses a taste of what to expect at the Games in 2012 while allowing organisers to perform vital tests.
The venue will now enter a transition phase as it is prepared for the combined run/ shoot and riding elements of the Modern Pentathlon test event – the UIPM World Cup Final – this weekend. The swimming and fencing events will take place at Crystal Palace, a non-Olympic venue. Spectators planning to visit Greenwich Park for the second day of competition, on Sunday 10 July, are advised to travel by mainline rail to either Greenwich or Maze Hill stations as the DLR will be closed until midday.
Equestrian will return to the Park 28 July – 9 August for the London 2012 Olympic Games.