Sunday 09 September - 08h52 | Lulu Kyriacou
VIDEO- WEG 2018, Facilities Still Under Construction
Despite a media blackout, footage is continuing to emerge from the site of the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon, North Carolina, USA, that show extensive work is still ongoing with the opening ceremony only 48 hours away.
WEG 2018 was only moved to the venue in 2016 after the original host in Bromont, Canada pulled out citing a lack of govermental support. Tryon was selected by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) over Samourin in Slovakia mainly because it already had considerable infrastructure in place (the Tyron International Equestrian Centre has permanent arenas and stabling) but even so would still need to deal with the tracks for endurance, driving and eventing. There have been reports about wet weather delaying the construction but according to meterological information from the area, the rainfall has been much as usual (North Carolina is general hot and ofen humid and prone to severe thunderstorms) so perhaps the work just need to be started sooner.
The delay is much more likely to be due to finances as most of the sponsors have only been announced as in place during the last month with three being announced this week. This once again calls into question the viability of running one collective World Championships, instead of individual discipline specific events.
That said, the videos now being seen show many areas of the site looking more like a construction site than a venue expected to be open to the public in two days. Endurance official Ahmed Al Hammadi is heard on his video from the endurance site (below) asking who is responsible for the delay and, quite rightly, also mentions that despite all the negative publicity about endurance in his home country, United Arab Emirates sponsored venues, such as Euston Park in the UK ad the recent Youth Championships in Pisa Italy, have always been ready on time and with facilities second to none.
Although the venue looks better in an arial video shot by journalist Erik Olsen (also below), another surreptitous piece of filming by a German speaker calling herself Endurance Ursula, tells a different picture. The construction work can still be seen as can clouds of dust swirling about , which itself is a concern now horses are on site (mainly event horses and endurance horses so far).
In another incident a journalist arived a tthe media accreditation venue yesterday (according to the venue media guide open from 8th September) to find it shut after several hours of travelling.
There have been statements from recognisable voices on social media threads saying that the work is progressing rapidly with structures being completed hourly, but such a rush leaves the process open to mistakes being made. It can only be hoped that none f these leads to an accident or forced withdrawal of a copetitor who has spent four years working towards these championships.
Friday 07 September - 10h14