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HK expects long-term benefits from Olympic equestrian events
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16:07, July 26, 2008

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· Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
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Hong Kong is expected to benefit in both long and short terms from the upcoming Olympic equestrian events to be staged in the city next month, a senior official said.

"Co-hosting the Olympic equestrian events gives Hong Kong a chance to share the glory of Olympics with five other co-host cities," said Henry Tang, Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Tang said co-hosting the Olympics would bring about new job opportunities and sustaining benefits for Hong Kong.

In the short run, about 45,000 visitors, including horsemen, referees, delegation members and journalists, will tour Hong Kong during the Games and will help promote its fame as Aisa's world city of tourism and great events in the long run.

A fan for China's national diving team and table tennis, Tang said he hoped the national teams would perform well during the Games.

"But I won't place too much pressure for the athletes of Hong Kong, China delegation to the Games," he said.

Hong Kong is sending 35 athletes to the Beijing Olympics in 11 sports including equestrian, swimming, track and field, fencing, shooting, rowing and triathlon, and medal hopefuls of cycling, table tennis, windsurfing and badminton.

Though he can't watch the opening ceremony on spot for the 29th Olympics at the Bird's Nest National Stadium on Aug. 8, Tang promised to stay in Hong Kong and share the excitement via live coverage on television together with horsemen from overseas and Hong Kong citizens.

Tang said the HKSAR government and related private institutions had already carried out about 100 drills on different contingencies to ensure the Olympic equestrian events to proceed safely and smoothly.

For the success of the equestrian events, the HKSAR government has established the Equestrian Committee to coordinate intergovernmental work in such areas as security, transport, medical and quarantine services.

The committee set up its executive arm in the form of a company, the Equestrian Company, to organize the equestrian events.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has spent more than 1.2 billion HK dollars (154 million U.S. dollars) on the design, construction and maintenance of two competition venues located in the New Territories.

As Hong Kong will stage the 2009 East Asian Games, Tang said he believed co-hosting the Olympic Games will let them gain experience to hold major international sports events.

The Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events are scheduled to kick off from Aug. 9, and expected to bring together athletes and horses from 42 teams.


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