London passes first tests with flying colours
London 2012 has successfully hosted its first major sports events in Greenwich Park, as preparations continue for the 2012 Olympic Games.
As part of the ‘London Prepares’ series of events, the city’s Greenwich Park welcomed stars from the equestrian world from 4-6 July before staging the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) World Cup Final over the weekend (9-10 July).
The events, which gave the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) the chance to test crucial aspects of its operations before next year’s Games, have been hailed as a success by competitors, organisers and spectators alike.
British rider Piggy French, who won the three-day Greenwich Park Eventing Invitational, was particularly impressed with the venue, which offers stunning views of the London skyline.
“As you walk into the park you get goosebumps,” she said. “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 [next year].”
A temporary 2,000-seat equestrian arena was built within the park to host the dressage and jumping stages, while a cross country course, consisting of 26 jumps, was also installed in the east side of the park.
The venue then played host to the show jumping and combined running/shooting events during the UIPM World Cup Final, while the swimming and fencing stages took place at Crystal Palace, which will not be used during London 2012.
The women’s competition was won by Germany’s Lena Schoneborn, while Robert Kasza took gold in the men’s event. The Hungarian, who also secured qualification for London 2012, was impressed with the event and is already eagerly anticipating a return for the Olympic Games.
“The venue was absolutely great, and the city is very beautiful,” he said. “I am looking forward to coming back next year.”
Both events gave LOCOG the opportunity to test the sporting field of play, as well as the results, timing and scoring systems that will be used next year, and Debbie Jevans, LOCOG Director of Sport, was pleased with the outcome.
“A lot of hard work has gone into delivering this successful test event in such a wonderful Park,” she said. “We will now conduct thorough debriefs so that we can fine tune our plans to ensure we deliver a fantastic event in 2012.”