The equestrian governing body, FEI, confirmed the allocation for
the three disciplines which will be held in Hong Kong.
There are only a limited number of places for the Olympics, but
Hong Kong has been given a wild-card entry for jumping, dressage
and eventing, providing competitors meet the qualification
Ronald Arculli, chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the
Hong Kong Equestrian Federation, said: "I'm over the moon. It is
amazing to get a wild card. This is an opportunity of a lifetime.
Hong Kong must now do its bit to ensure we are represented."
Sports Federation and Olympic Committee president Timothy Fok
Tsun-ting added: "We have talked a lot about the facilities, but at
the end of the day the Olympics are all about participation and
having a wild card will do so much to promote the sport and raise
general interest in the 2008 events."
Jumping is the most popular discipline in Hong Kong. For the
Olympics, the SAR can qualify either a three- or four-strong team
or up to two individuals. It is not unusual for a delegation to
fail to qualify a team. At Athens 2004, key nations, including
Britain, only managed individual entries and it is unlikely Hong
Kong can field a full team, so individual places are vital.
The qualification procedure for the 70 jumping places is
rigorous. The horses and riders need to compete in designated
events from January 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008.
Depending on the event they will need to achieve either a clear
round or a score of below four penalties, which means only one
The standard of all the competitions is challenging, with fences
starting at a height of 1.40 meters and including a 3.5m water jump
and obstacles with a spread of between 1.5m and 2m.
The only Hong Kong athlete who has competed at this standard is
18-year-old Charlotte Morse, who showed she could mix it with the
best at the FEI Grand Prix tour in Kuala Lumpur last month.
The dressage competitions will have only 50 places, one of which
will be allocated to a qualified Hong Kong competitor. The
qualification is based on competing in designated Grand Prix events
and achieving a minimum score.
For eventing, Hong Kong also gets one place out of 75
horse-rider pairs. In order to qualify, riders will have to achieve
minimum scores in all three sections of the designated competitions
- cross-country, jumping and dressage.
(South China Morning Post May 23, 2006)