LONDON (Reuters) - The surface of London's innovative Olympic equestrian venue in Greenwich Park, criticized by riders in a test event last year, has won an all-clear after a final assessment, the international governing body of the sport said on Thursday.
In the assessment, two horses were put through their paces and over fences in the arena before a panel of experts, who pronounced the surface -- or footing -- ready for the Games.
"A lot of work has been done on this footing with the involvement of many experts and we are really happy with the final result," Ingmar De Vos, secretary general of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), said in a statement.
After negative feedback at a test event in July last year -- when British Nations Cup rider David McPherson told British media the footing was "nowhere near good enough" -- organizers added a binder to the 8,500 metric tonnes (9369.6 tons) of sand and fiber that make up the surface.
The surface sits on top of a platform of plywood, aluminum and steel supported by more than 2,000 pillars, an innovation designed to protect historic Greenwich Park.
Recent heavy rains had not hurt the footing of the cross-country course, De Vos said.
"(Equestrian competition head) Tim Hadaway showed me around the cross-country and we were happy to see that the footing is in very good shape and ready for the competition and that the recent adverse weather conditions have had no negative effects," he said.
(Writing by Sarah Edmonds; Editing by Clare Fallon)