Thursday, March 01, 2012

Horse sport faces Olympic hurdle

Weeklytimesnow.com.au - Full Article

March 1 2012
Fran Cleland

EQUESTRIAN events are no longer a given for the Olympics, writes FRAN CLELAND

The Olympic Equestrian Federation has reassured its support for horse sports in the Olympic Games for the next 100 years.

But many still have doubts.

This year's London Olympic Games at Greenwich Park marks 100 years of equestrian sport in the Olympic movement.

FEI president Princess Haya issued a statement last week celebrating the milestone.

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic movement since the 1912 Stockholm Games.

It is one of the few Olympic sports in which men and women compete against each other and the only one which involves an animal.

But there is considerable discussion as to whether the equestrian sports can survive at the Games.

Other sports - far less expensive to run and hosted by countries not capable of holding horse sports because of quarantine issues - are hammering at the IOC's doors for inclusion.

Horse sports appear "elitist" and their requirements can cause resentment.

London's Greenwich Park has come under criticism from residents - similar to the Grand Prix-related Albert Park protest in Melbourne - due to the loss of access to the park at competition times.

The $68.5 million cost of construction for what is only a temporary venue which carries no benefit to the equestrian community is difficult to justify when it would have cost far less at existing facilities at Windsor.

The simple fact cannot be denied. Equestrian Sport is expensive to run.

The 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington finished with a loss of $1,386,625 despite sponsorship, and required a cash loan close to the event...

Read more here:
http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2012/03/01/449591_opinion-news.html