Historic Day For Hong Kong As Riders Qualify For Olympic Games
8 May 2008
In a historic day for Hong Kong sport, four Hong Kong jumping riders - three of them sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club and Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust - booked their tickets for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Equestrian Events at a special qualifying event in Germany yesterday.
Club-sponsored riders Kenneth Cheng, Samantha Lam and Jennifer Lee, along with Patrick Lam, all earned their Olympic Certificate of Capability (COC) at a special qualifying event in Hagen, north-west Germany yesterday.
Kenneth Cheng and Samantha Lam qualified for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Equestrian Events with two horses each, Cheng with Jockey Club Can Do and Felton Lee and Lam with Jockey Club Tresor and Coco. Fellow Club-sponsored rider Jennifer Lee also got her COC with Mr Burns. With a COC also in the bag for Patrick Lam and Urban, Hong Kong now has a full team qualified for the 2008 Olympic equestrian events.
"I'm a bit shell-shocked" said Cheng, who was clear with his two horses, Jockey Club Can Do and Felton Lee, in the Hagen qualifier. "It's like a dream come true. First I get the chance to be a torchbearer in the Olympic Torch Relay and now I've qualified to actually compete in the Olympics. It's just incredible."
"I'm absolutely over the moon", said Lam, who was clear with both Jockey Club Tresor and Coco. "The horses were just brilliant today. It was as though they knew how much was riding on it and were determined to do their best."
"This is a historic day for Hong Kong", Club Chief Executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said. "It's the first time that Hong Kong has ever got an equestrian team qualified for the Olympics. Now, not only are they qualified, but they will be jumping on home ground in Hong Kong. It's fantastic news."
The four Hong Kong riders all competed at yesterday's International Equestrian Federation (FEI) approved qualifier organised specifically for the Chinese and Hong Kong riders. Australian and New Zealand riders also jumped at the qualifier in Hagen, which was facilitated by the FEI to give extra competition experience to the riders.
The 11-fence course, which included three fences standing at over 1.60 metres, was designed by Germany's Frank Rothenberger, who produced the courses at the 2006 World Equestrian Games and two European championships. Rothenberger, who is widely recognised as one of the world's top designers, is also an officially recognised Olympic course designer.
Hans Wallmeier, also of Germany, was brought in as the Assessing Delegate, to ensure that the qualifier was run according to FEI rules. Wallmeier, who is one of Germany's top equestrian officials, was overall chief steward at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen.
Cheng, who lit the Olympic Torch Relay cauldron in Sha Tin Racecourse on horseback on 2 May, is now in Austria with Jennifer Lee and Patrick Lam for tomorrow's (Friday, 9 May) Austrian four-star Nations Cup show at Linz. Both the Nations Cup and Sunday's Grand Prix are also Olympic qualifiers.
Olympic Equestrian Qualified Riders Bios
Hong Kong Jockey Club-sponsored rider, Samantha Lam qualified two horses, including Jockey Club Tresor (pictured) for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Equestrian Events.
Hong Kong Jockey Club-sponsored rider, Samantha Lam, qualified Jockey Club Tresor for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Equestrian Events.
Hong Kong Jockey Club-sponsored rider Kenneth Cheng earned his Olympic Certificate of Capability (COC) with two horses, including Jockey Club Can Do
Hong Kong Jockey Club-sponsored rider Kenneth Cheng earned his Olympic Certificate of Capability (COC) with Jockey Club Can Do
Photos 5 & 6
Olympic torchbearer Kenneth Cheng became part of Hong Kong history when he lit the Olympic Torch Relay cauldron in Sha Tin Racecourse on horseback on 2 May