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Pyeongchang Games mark sporting shift to Asia

Volunteers pose for photos next to the Olympic rings on Wednesday ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, which start tomorrow. AFP
Volunteers pose for photos next to the Olympic rings on Wednesday ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, which start tomorrow. AFP

Pyeongchang Games mark sporting shift to Asia

With the curtain set to go up on the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea on Friday, the official opening ceremony of the global winter sports spectacle marks 30 years since South Korea held the Summer Games in Seoul in 1988.

In Pyeongchang, South Korea will host the first of three upcoming Olympics to be held in Asia, with the Summer Games in Tokyo to come in 2020 and the Beijing Winter Games in 2022, which signals a global sporting shift to the region and a chance to showcase South Korea and Asia as a hub for winter sports.

“Our Games once again will put Korea on the world map,” said Lee Hee-beom, president and CEO of the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG), speaking to international journalists during a recent visit to the main operations centre and sports venues of Pyeongchang 2018, according to Arab News.

After failing in two previous attempts to host the Winter Games, the then president of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge announced on July 6, 2011 that South Korea was finally successful in its bid to host the Winter Olympics.

South Korea will become the only fifth country to host four of the world’s biggest sporting events, after successfully staging the Summer Olympics in 1988, FIFA World Cup in 2002 and the IAAF Athletics World Championship in in Daegu in 2011.

As many as 2,952 athletes from 92 countries are set to battle for glory in 102 events in seven sports and 15 disciplines at the Games, which run until February 25.

Athletes from the Kingdom will not participate in Pyeongchang because Cambodia, as a tropical country, doesn’t have a strong background in winter sports yet, according to National Olympic Committee of Cambodia secretary-general Vath Chamroeun. Efforts had been made in ice skating but the young athletes failed to qualify.

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