Incheon Opens Asian Games Headquarters
By Kim Tong-hyung
The organizing committee for the 2014 Incheon Asian Games opened its headquarters at Munhak Stadium Wednesday to mark the beginning of preparations for Asia's largest sporting event.
The bustling port city on the western coast was announced as the winning bid for the 2014 Games in a meeting of the Olympic Council of Asia in April last year, becoming the third South Korean city to host the event after Seoul (1986) and Busan (2002).
``By the sheer number of athletes and competition, the Asian Games are an even larger event than the Olympics and are expected to have a significant impact on the regional economy and the international recognition of South Korea, making it much more than just a sporting event,'' said Kim Jung-kil, president of the Korea Olympic Committee who is doubling as the head of Incheon's organizing committee.
Incheon Mayor Ahn Sang-soo and Minister of Culture and Tourism Kim Jong-min were also present at the ceremony at Munhak Stadium, along with 300 other guests, including politicians, businessman, sports figures and civic leaders.
The organizing committee currently has 105 members, including 15 officials from the municipal government, 32 sports officials, 17 lawmakers and political party members, 17 business men and 11 journalists and scholars. The group is expected to grow when operations hit full gear.
``We have seven years to make the 2014 Games the most successful Asiad ever, and that would require a high level of cooperation between the Incheon Metropolitan Government, policymakers, the corporate world and citizens,'' Kim Jung-kil said.
``The country's experience in hosting international sporting tournaments and culture events would certainly help the preparation for the Asian Games,'' Culture Minister Kim said. ``The government hopes to create a synergy effect in the fields of cultural content, sports marketing and tourism.''
The Asian Games, also called the Asiad, is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from Asian countries.
More than 10,500 athletes from 45 nations participated in the 2006 Asian Games held in Doha, Qatar. The next Asiad will be held in Guangzhou, China, in November of 2010.