Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Why does LOCOG think trashing an ancient Park is preferable to using existing eventing venues?

At Badminton, they have been preparing the 2009 cross-country course for the horse trials (7-10 May 2009):
"the grassland management programme consists of vertidraining to improve drainage and aerate the roots of the grass; soil enhancement with sand and some compost; additional seeding, weedkiller, fertiliser and above all regular mowing during the growing season ... the main arena and warm up areas ... get the same treatment. the autumn or early winter ... Willis Bros start work with anything that is going to disturb the ground, to ensure it is fully settled by the following spring. ... it is important to decide on what test is wanted at a particular site and then use the appropriate portable [jump]if available, rather than list the portables and then design to accommodate them."

It isn't credible that the IOC would find acceptable an Olympic cross-country course in Greenwich Park that was less well prepared than the one at the Badminton Estate. But how do you preserve the Roman and Anglo Saxon remains that lie just below the surface of the ground from your "vertidraining"? And enhancing the soil and mowing would completely alter the grassland character of Greenwich Park.

Furthermore, Badminton has just agreed a new deal with BBC tv for its coverage of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, which has been unbroken since 1956, for a further three years inclusive of 2012. "The new contract will guarantee live red button and broadband coverage of cross country day, as well as a two hour programme which combines the best of the cross country and dressage with previews and the live conclusion of the show jumping." RM/AG

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