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Test Events: A great success

The Dressage and Jumping test events have finished, and it’s now time to make an assessment. Laurent Cellier, Director of Sports for the Normandy 2014 Organising Committee, reviews what happened during those four days of competition. 

Test Events: A great success
© PSV Photos

What have you learned during these test events?

These test events were an opportunity to evaluate the infrastructures, the facilities and the human resources we had put in place. We learned a lot during this period: the first three days with ideal weather conditions, during which we had excellent feedback and highly efficient surfaces; the last day with much less favourable weather conditions, which was really the day we learnt the most. We saw that there is still a lot of work to be done. Our surface is still good, but in the event of heavy rainfall over a short period of time, we must be more vigilant with regard to maintenance so that we can still offer ideal sporting conditions. When it rained during the Grand Prix jump-off, we realised that we should have paid more attention, not to the quality of the surface, but to its preparation and maintenance when we knew there were going to be showers. The stables are still comfortable, which is a good sign. As for the lorries, despite the rainfall, they had no trouble leaving. 

What is your overall assessment of these four days?

Our assessment is a positive one: we held a debriefing with all of the national federations, and the general consensus was that all of the foundations for a great Games are in place. Now we just have a few details to iron out, but two months prior to the event that’s perfectly normal. The test events are not the Games. There were a certain number of procedures that we wanted to test with regard to the functioning of the site, which worked very well. I wanted to talk to the riders, the chefs d’équipes and the national federations about the minor details, and this is something very positive. 

What information did the spectators’ presence provide?

On Wednesday we realised just how close the spectators were to the athletes. It was interesting to see how the site reacted. The riders were often rather taken aback when they emerged from the tunnel, but we did notice how calm the horses were when they were performing. What I will remember in particular is the burgeoning excitement that we felt on Wednesday, which we will be able to feel at the Games. It was awe-inspiring. When the stadium is full, it will give rise to emotions that we will remember for a long time.

What is your state of mind today?

Now, we are entering the home straight. We’re working hard. If I were to compare it to a rider, I’d say that we have done a few jumps in the warm-up ring and that we’re now heading for the main arena. As the organisers, it’s like taking part in the final of the Games. Though we’ve jumped well in the warm-up ring, we must stay focused until the end of our round. Until we’ve cleared the last fence on 7 September 2014, we have to stay focused. 

Click here on this link to learn everything about the 2014 test events http://bit.ly/testeventsnormandy2014

Check the highlights of the 2014 Test Events in the video below

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