Medical experts at athletes’ service

Equestrian Company Chief Executive Officer Lam Woon-kwong said more 300 doctors and 1,000 medical staff will be on hand for the Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events, with an onsite medical team and ambulances standing by during the events – to help both human and animal athletes.

Equestrian events are the one sport that consider horses to be athletes, too.

Speaking on a morning radio talk show today – the day the first batch of 32 of the 300 horses who will participate arrived in Hong Kong – Mr Lam said Police would escort these horses to the Sha Tin stable as soon as possible to ensure they are kept in the best condition.

Mr Lam said 19 ambulances, including ones for horses, will stand by at the Beas River venue where accidents may easily occur in a cross-country test.

He stressed there will be ample security guards, and a closed-circuit television system has been installed at Beas River to ensure staff can be sent instantly to the site of any incidents.

His company will keep in close contact with the Security Bureau and the Police, Mr Lam said, adding arrangements will be adjusted if the risk-assessment alert is upgraded.

He urged audiences to use the shuttle-bus service provided and arrive at competition venues one to two hours in advance. To avoid affecting riders and horses’ performances, people should not use flash when taking photos.

Source: Hong Kong’s Information Services Department

First batch of horses arrive remarkably well

After a half-day journey from Amsterdam, the first batch of 13 horses arrived remarkably well this morning (July 26) at their six-star stable accommodation in Hong Kong Olympic Equestrian Venue (Sha Tin).

During the course of the day another 19 competing horses arrived from Europe and the United States. And over the next few days a total of 229 horses from across the globe will arrive at Hong Kong.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Equestrian Company, Mr Lam Woon-kwong, showed his delight with the arrangements of the transfer of the horses after their arrival when he told the assembled media that all involved in preparation for the competition had gone into Olympic mode as of today.

“I am so pleased with the reports of our veterinarian staff when I visited the stables that all 13 had travelled well,” he said. “Our experience from last year’s trials has been useful as we are prepared for all conditions…. periods of heat or wet weather conditions.”

Mr Lam was accompanied by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, the Head of Veterinary Clinical Services of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Dr Christopher Riggs, and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department’s quarantine officer, Dr Thomas Sit, for a tour of the stables when the horses arrived from the airport.

“The accompanying grooms have told us that they behaved well during the 11-hour flight from Amsterdam,” Dr Riggs said.

“I am sure that all horses will enjoy a good roll in the shavings, have a small feed or light exercise before settling in,” he added.

Dr Sit said he was also pleased with this batch of arrivals as all documents on their behaviour during quarantine were in order

Animal Waste Composting Plant ready to operate

The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) announced today (July 25) the Animal Waste Composting Plant is ready to handle the horse stable waste arising from the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events to be held in Hong Kong from August to September 2008. Turning horse waste into useful compost is an important contribution to the environmental commitment of the 2008 Olympic Equestrian Events.

An EPD spokesman said that the Animal Waste Composting Plant, located in Ngau Tam Mei, is designed to treat about 20 tonnes of horse stable waste every day and turn it into useful organic compost suitable for landscaping, horticultural and agricultural uses. The plant adopts a rotary in-vessel composting technology to ensure effective elimination of all harmful pathogens as well as containment and treatment of potentially odorous emissions during the composting process.

“In-vessel composting enables the natural biological degradation of organic materials under controlled aerobic conditions,” he explained.

The total lump sum cost for the design and construction of the plant, including a two-year trial operation, was HK$37 million.