The Greenwich Park Eventing International will be taking place on 4-6 July and the Modern Pentathlon UIPM World Cup Final will be taking place on 9-10 July. The events are part of the official London 2012 sports testing programme, which allow the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) to test crucial aspects of its operations ahead of the Games and Ireland will be represented in both events. Performance Directors Ginny Elliot (Eventing) and Lindsey Weedon (Modern Pentathlon) will get a chance to check out the event one year out from London 2012.
Some of the world’s top equestrian and modern pentathlon athletes will be competing in the events, including several Olympic champions. There will be 41 athletes from 23 countries taking part in the Equestrian event including New Zealand Olympian Andrew Nicholson and double gold medal-winning Mark Todd along with Great Britain Olympians, William Fox-Pitt and Pippa Funnell. Ginny Elliot and have announced the combinations for Irelands participation, they are Jayne Doherty; The Only One, and Joseph Murphy; Chuckleberry. The competition will be at CIC 2 star level.
There will also be a show jumping demonstration competition and Robert Splaine has announced that Ireland will be represented in this by Capt. David O’Brien and ‘Mo Chroi’
In the Modern Pentathlon event, 72 athletes from 20 nations will be competing including Lena Schonebone from Germany, Heather Fell from Great Britain and Victoria Tereshuk from Ukraine who have won gold, silver and bronze medals respectively in the women’s event at the Beijing Games. The current men’s world champion Serguei Karyakin from Russia will also be competing. Natalya Coyle will represent Ireland having qualified for the event by finishing in the top 36 of the recent World Cup series in China.
Pictured above : Jayne Doherty second from Left , with Irish Eventing squad riders with Stephen Martin and OCI Sports Director Martin Burke at a recent coaching/assessment weekend in Kildare. A temporary equestrian arena has been erected within Greenwich Park to host the Dressage, Jumping and Laser Shooting (for Modern Pentathlon). The arena platform has been designed to minimise impact as it is quick to install, lightweight and reusable. The arena will seat 2,000 spectators, and is on a smaller scale than for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. A cross-country course has also been installed, consisting of 26 jumps in the east side of the Park.
Stephen Martin CEO at the Olympic Council of Ireland said , “it’s an important opportunity to compete on the venue to be used in London next year, it will provide the riders and their performance teams with invaluable knowledge and experience at this Olympic venue. The OCI have been working with Ginny Elliot to enhance the support services support particularly in the areas of sports nutrition, psychology and conditioning and aditional coaching/assessment days. Natayla Coyle support for London has also been enhanced through her Olympic Council athlete scholarship grant”
Pat Hickey with Natalya Coyle
Seb Coe, LOCOG Chair, commented: ‘Greenwich Park is a fantastic venue, and it is very exciting to be hosting world class sport here in the lead up to the Games. This will give us a chance to test our plans and operational readiness. It also gives the residents and school children of Greenwich, plus the equestrian and modern pentathlon communities, a chance to witness world class sport at this historic venue.
‘We have worked hard on the detail of our plans, and we will treat the Park with respect and care. We have held the event outside school holidays to minimise disruption and many parts of the Park remain open, including the whole of the west side. It has been impressive and exciting to see everything take place. Now it is time to put it all into action.’