On August 8, 2008, the 29th Olympic Games will commence in Beijing, China.
This is a historic moment for Hong Kong as the city co-hosts the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events.
Hong Kong has a respected tradition of equine excellence, nurtured and promoted by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation and the Riding for the Disabled Association Limited.
The city's first-rate quarantine and vaccination regimes, coupled with the Hong Kong Jockey Club's extensive experience with the import of thoroughbred racehorses, enables us to provide an atmosphere for championship horses to be stabled and compete in safety and comfort. The utmost care has been given to ensure the welfare of these magnificent animals throughout their stay.
Hong Kong's preparatory work has been extensive. Community-wide efforts, including a $150 million investment in state-of-the-art equestrian facilities by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, have helped create a world-class environment that is "second to none", as described by American rider Bruce Davidson, Jr. during a pre-Olympic trial run last August.
The 2008 Olympic Games include a number of firsts for the equestrian events, including 24-hour air-conditioned stables, an indoor air-conditioned training area, on-site equine drug testing facilities, mobile cooling stations for horses, and 100 percent recycling of Olympic stable waste.
Stateside, Hong Kong has been active in promoting the Olympic Equestrian Events among American audiences.
In April, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York co-sponsored the prestigious Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. The event was also a selection trial of the U.S. Equestrian Federation for the 2008 Olympic Eventing Team.
In June, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco co-sponsored the 2008 Collecting Gaits Farm/U.S. Equestrian Federation Festival of Champions in San Juan Capistrano which included the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team Selection Trials.
It is my hope that Hong Kong's co-hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events will enhance public appreciation of, and respect for, both riders and horses in the Olympic disciplines in which they compete.
Hong Kong people are honored to welcome human and equine athletes, as well as spectators, in the spirit of the Games' fabled tradition.
Upon their arrival, visitors will see that Hong Kong is a free, open and pluralistic society. It is a city that cherishes its role in contributing to, and embracing, the ideals of the Olympic Movement to promote peace and solidarity through competitive sport.
I wish all Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian participants the best of luck.
Hong Kong Commissioner, USA
(Commissioner Fong's Biography)