Quarantine field for Asian Games' horses wrapped up

Wu Huixin
The quarantine field for domestic horses competing in the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 was completed in early April, part of the equine disease-free zone for equestrian events.
Wu Huixin

The quarantine field for domestic horses competing in the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 was completed in early April, a critical part of the equine disease-free zone for the games' equestrian events.

Equine animals are susceptible to 19 diseases, such as glanders, Japanese encephalitis and equine influenza.

Domestic horses must be quarantined in the field for 45 days before the games, while horses from abroad must undergo quarantine before arriving in China.

The quarantine field project began in October 2020. More than 20,000 square meters in size, it consists of racetracks, 18 quarantine stables, three backup stables, training grounds and a dormitory.

A 200-meter-long racetrack and a 2,400-square-meter field with "fiber sand" will be used for training. Fiber sand is a common surfacing material used in competition venues worldwide, including the National Stadium and Beijing Chaoyang Park. It is believed to reduce equine sports injuries and enhance the security of equestrian competitions. Its water-saving and penetration properties make it ideal for maintenance and competitions on rainy days.

The roads leading to the stables are paved with rubber to create a buffer. All the stables are equipped with central air-conditioning, mosquito-control lamps and screens. Before the horses move in, insect will be exterminated.

Tonglu Equestrian Center will host equine competitions. Last April, the major structure of the main stadium was completed with 240 high-level stables and about 3,000 seats. The venues are surrounded by mountains and face a river with picturesque scenery.

During the Asian Games, riders from 22 countries and regions with 231 horses will compete in what is expected to be the Games' largest equestrian competition ever. The events will take place over 11 days.

The equine disease-free zone covers 1,300 square kilometers in Tonglu County and Fuyang District.

Last month, the zone was approved by the World Organization for Animal Health, authorizing it to host international equestrian events.

Competition horses will be flown into Hangzhou and transported to Tonglu County via a special biosecurity route. Their hooves will not touch the ground until they arrive at the equestrian venues.

Quarantine field for Asian Games' horses wrapped up

The racecourse venue for the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022

All pig, cattle and goat farms have been relocated from the core area, covering 5 square kilometers. All cloven-hoofed animals in Hangzhou have been implanted with chips that record health information, vaccine records and whereabouts. This information links to Hangzhou's "City Brain" big data system and can be shared among different bureaus. Local departments record their health conditions at least twice a year.

"Building the equine disease-free zone is an enduring thing. We cannot drop our guard even after the Asian Games," said Yang Jianjun, vice director of the EDFZ commission.

Four animal health supervision and inspection stations have been set up along the roads leading to the EDFZ, providing professional supervision and testing of imported, transported and susceptible horses and related products.

Each station has an inspector and veterinarian, monitoring and disinfecting passing vehicles, susceptible cloven-hoofed animals and products.

Insects are a vector for equine disease transmission among cloven-hoofed animals. To lower infection risks, local authorities are working to control insects within the EDFZ and surveying the numbers, species and whereabouts of wild animals in the area.

Tonglu government hopes to cash in on the Asian Games and develop the equestrian industry after the games. It has signed partnership agreements with 10 organizations and invited equestrian-related companies to open branches in the area.

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