20 nations vie for equestrian honors at Asian Games

Sudokwon, venue for the equestrian events of the 17th Asian games in Incheon.
Sudokwon, venue for the equestrian events of the 17th Asian games in Incheon.

The equestrian events of the 17th Asian Games get under way on Saturday in Incheon, South Korea, with the team dressage competition leading off the three Olympic disciplines at the event.

The 2014 Asian Games, officially known as the XVII Asiad, is the largest sporting event in the world, with 12,000 athletes competing over 437 events in 36 sports and disciplines (the IOC has limited the number of athletes at the Olympic Games to 10,000).

Governed by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), the 17th Asian Games are being hosted by Incheon, a metropolitan city west of Seoul, from September 19 to October 4, 2014.

Equestrian sports first made an appearance at the 9th Asian Games in 1982 held in New Delhi (India) following by Seoul, South Korea in 1986. They were not included in the 11th edition in Beijing, but were reintroduced again in 1994 and have since been part of the Asian Games program.

Among the competitors are leading equestrians China’s Alex Hua Tian (eventing) Hong Kong’s Samantha Lam and the UAE’s Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum (showjumping), while Australian eventer Lucinda Fredericks has been coaching the Hong Kong eventing team. Royalty will also be there: Thailand’s Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana will compete in the dressage.

New Zealand’s John Nicholson has designed the cross-country course for the Games.

Eventing starts next Wednesday, and on Sunday, September 28, the jumping gets under way. Riders from 20 of the 45 competing nations will take part in the equestrian events, with seven countries participating in the modern pentathlon, the jumping element of which will be at the Games equestrian centre in Sudokwon (Seoul capital region), which has capacity for 1264 spectators. It is one of five venues for the Games which was built on a landfill site which is located in the western part of Incheon Metropolitan City.

Sudokwon was one of the biggest landfill in the world, where 25,000 tonnes of garbage were dumped every day. The initiative to transform the area into a sport park, and make the Asian Games an eco-friendly event, was part of the host city’s planning for the Games.

Incheon_Asian_GamesSome 13,000 athletes and officials are expected to participate in the games which will begin on 19 September 2014 and last for 16 days.

South Korean rapper Psy ,whose music video Gangnam Style catapulted him to global stardom in 2012, will perform the last act of the opening ceremony on September 19, and boy band BigBang will wrap up the show at the closing ceremony on October 4t.

Host nation South Korea has finished second behind China in the medal tables at each of the past four Asiads. It is aiming to win at least 90 gold medals to once again finish second behind China and fend off Japan.

The Court of Arbitration of Sport has created an ad hoc Division for the duration of the games, and has opened a temporary office in Incheon. Michael Hwang (Singapore) will serve as President of the Division and six CAS arbitrators form the tribunal: Dong Su Ahn (Korea), Bruce Collins (Australia), Catherine Davani (Papua New Guinea), Chi Liu (China), Thi My Dung Nguyen (Vietnam) and Vinayak Pradhan (Malaysia). The Incheon office will be headed by CAS Secretary General Matthieu Reeb.



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