Largest European training arena for equestrian sports opened in Flanders
Europe's largest training arena for equestrian sports was officially opened on Tuesday in Wambeek, Flanders. The indoor arena, built in eight months, is 85 metres long and 50 metres wide, which amounts to over 4,000 square metres of training space. "This gives Belgium extra allure as a renowned equestrian country, " said manager Christophe Vanderhasselt.
Riders have been able to come and ride in the arena since November. In four months, over 12,000 training sessions have already been organised. The arena's lighting allows the riders to "mimic the atmosphere of a competition during training," said rider Manon Claeys. "For my training sessions, aimed at the Olympics in Paris next year, this is real added value."
The project was presented to Sport Vlaanderen, which invested 1.2 million euros in the new training centre, which cost around 4 million euros. In exchange for the subsidy, Sport Vlaanderen can use the arena free of charge for the next 20 years.
This legislature, the Flemish government is investing another 1.5 million euros in equestrian facilities. "One in three horses that competed at the Tokyo Olympics was of Flemish breeding," said Flemish Sports minister Ben Weyts. "The success of equestrian sports is great, but that also means that sometimes there is too little space to train, also during the winter period. That's why investments like this come in handy."
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