Incheon – Korea, Jan 14, 2014: The Incheon Asian Games Organising Committee (IAGOC) has set the scene for this year’s Asian Games with a detailed report on the progress and preparations – as well as the chances of DPR Korea taking part.
The Press Release is as follows:
The year 2014 that will see the 17th Asian Games in Incheon has begun. Covering the continent of 45 countries and regions and 4.5 billion people, the Asian Games is one of the biggest and most prominent international sporting events in the world. The Incheon Asian Games will be held from September 19 through October 4, 2014, and is expected to see the participation of some 9,000 athletes competing in 36 sports. Although North Korea remains the sole country not to confirm participation yet, the organizers are holding hopes high for its participation and expect to welcome all 45 National Olympic Committees that are members of the Olympic Council of Asia, the main international body for the Asian Games.
Some 200,000 foreign visitors are expected to come to Incheon for the Asian Games and 200 million viewers will watch the Games through media around the world. The 2014 Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee (IAGOC) has strived to make these Games the most economically effective Games in history, which will be the stepping stone for Incheon’s growth as a hub city in Asia and an occasion for all the Asians to celebrate peace and harmony. Also, the IAGOC has worked to make the Games environmentally-friendly, reducing carbon emission as much as possible and campaigning for a Green Asian Games.
Test events were held in Incheon to check the operation of Games facilities and work force, such as the 2013 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games and the 2013 Korean National Sports Festival.
The previous Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, had 42 sports, but in Incheon there will be 36 sports. The reason for this was the decision by the Olympic Council of Asia, the organizer of the Asian Games, regarding concerns that there are too many sports being played in the Games. As a result, it was decided that in 2014 Incheon Asian Games, there will be competitions for 28 Olympic sports such as athletics, basketball, and football, plus 8 non-Olympic sports that are particularly influential in Asia. These 8 sports are baseball, bowling, cricket, kabaddi, karate, sepaktakraw, squash, and wushu.
Sports such as athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, football, swimming, table tennis, and volleyball are expected to be the most popular at the Games. Asian Games is also an important occasion for the relatively lesser known sports that originate from Asia, such kabaddi, sepaktakraw, and wushu, and provide a chance to promote these sports around the world.
The participating countries have various systems to select the national teams in each sport, and they will make the final selections for their national teams as the time of the Games approaches. But as Asia includes some of the leading sporting nations in the world, such as China, the host nation of Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Iran, which all placed among the top 20 nations in the 2012 Olympics medal ranking, the Asian Games provides the highest international-level competition in many sports, including archery, badminton, gymnastics, and table tennis.
Athletes will be competing in 437 events in the 36 sports. Many top Korean stars, such the swimmer Park Tae-hwan, rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae, gymnast Yang Hak-seon, and badminton’s Lee Yong-dae are expected to excel at the Games, and other top Asian stars such as the badminton world number-one Lee Chong Wei, gymnast Kohei Uchimura, swimmer Sun Yang, and table tennis player Ma Long are anticipated to take part in the Games.
There will be 49 competition venues and 48 training facilities used in the Asian Games, and several new venues are being completed in succession. Since Songnim Gymnasium (the venue of volleyball competition) opened in last September, 6 of 10 new venues, including Yeorumul Tennis Courts, Ganghwa Dolmens Gymnasium (Taekwondo, table tennis), Gyeyang Gymnasium (karate, badminton), Munhak Park Tae-hwan Aquatics Center, and Namdong Asiad Rugby Field have completed construction last year. The Incheon Asiad Main Stadium, located in the northern part of Incheon, and with a seating capacity of 62,818, is 85% completed, with a target competition date in late April, 2014.
Some of the competition venues are located in the neighboring cities of Incheon, such as Anyang, Bucheon, Goyang, and Suwon. These include Anyang Hogye Gymnasium (bowling), Bucheon Gymnasium (sepaktakraw), Goyang Stadium (football), and Suwon Gymnasium (handball).
The cultural programs at the Asian Games will be divided into the Games Countdown events, the Games Eve events, Asian Games cultural events, and Athletes’ Village events.
The Countdown events will begin with the D-100 event in June for the opening of the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium. Large-scale performances that are focused on the “Korean Wave” will attract attention from home and abroad.
The Eve events will not only include the K-Pop programs, but various programs from other Asian countries, to make a colorful smorgasbord of Asian culture and performances.
Cultural programs during the Games will provide the spectators with attractions to see, eat, and entertain, to help them fully enjoy the Games. National and civic cultural and performance groups will entertain the audience, and various events that feature the diverse Asian cultures, such as Asian Food Festival, Asian Youth Jamboree, Asian Dance Festival, and Songdo Global Cultural Festival will be held.
At the Athletes’ Village, various high-level events will be held to entertain the athletes and to help them relax from the stresses of competition during the Games.
Asian Games Promotion and Marketing
The IAGOC initiated the Asian Games promotion in full force through Korean Wave on September 1 last year with the concert Incheon Korean Music Wave 2013 and the installation of the Asian Games Countdown Clock in front of the Incheon City Hall.
On October 24, IAGOC held a PR roadshow in Hanoi, Vietnam, the host city of the next Asian Games in 2019. The 2014 Asian Games Goodwill Ambassadors and K-Pop superstars JYJ participated in the event, and JYJ’s Incheon Asiad Song “Only One” and its accompanying dance was introduced there. On November 21, another PR roadshow was held, featuring again JYJ, in Guangzhou, China, the host city of the previous Asian Games of 2010.
“Cheer Asia” is the theme for overseas PR roadshows, and the spirit promotes not only the goal of contributing to the peace and harmony of Asia through Asian Games, but it radiates through the “Only One” song, which is a light and cheerful tune that everyone can dance to.
The IAGOC is targeting to attract 200,000 visitors from overseas to the 2014 Asian Games. This number is 10% of the overall target number of spectators. Incheon Metropolitan City and the IAGOC are in development for a basic strategy for a profit-producing Asian Games by attracting tourists from overseas, especially China. The organization is also working with travel agencies and Olympic Committees of each participating nation to develop travel packages to Incheon that include Asian Games competition admission tickets.
The Incheon Asian Games currently has 22 corporate sponsorships, which are distinguished by varying levels of support by the corporations. The “Prestige Partners”, which is the highest level of sponsorship, include Samsung Electronics, Korean Air, SK Telecom, Hyundai-Kia Motors, 361°, and Shinhan Bank. The “Partner” sponsors include Tissot and Pocari Sweat, and “Supplier” sponsors include Hanjin, Dongbu Insurance, and SK Planet.
Media and Broadcasting
Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) and Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) have been selected as host broadcasters of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, and their joint venture Incheon Host Broadcasting Management (IHB) was launched last May.
In addition to KBS and MBC, 10 other Korean broadcasters and overseas broadcasters such as CCTV and HBS will participate in the international signal production of IHB. 50 outside broadcast vans and 520 cameras will be used to produce 70 broadcasting feeds in 36 sports competitions and events, including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. HS Ad, a subsidiary of LG Group, was selected as the production agency for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
The Asian Games News Service (AGNS) will be provided by Herald Corporation in Korean and English. The International Broadcasting Center (IBC) will be housed in Songdo Convensia, the convention center in the New Songdo City of Incheon, and the Main Press Center (MPC) will be located in the Songdo International Business District Building adjacent to the Convensia. There will be Sub-Media Centers at the Games venues – 38 Sub-Broadcast Centers at competition venues, and 50 Sub-Press Centers, including those at Athletes’ and Media Village.
The Athletes’ and Media Village is located in central Incheon, and will provide over 3,300 units and 9,560 rooms for the participating athletes and media persons. The Village construction will be completed in June. The Games is expected to draw some 2 million domestic and overseas visitors to Incheon. 27 hotels are designated as the official hotels of the 2014 Asian Games, including the Headquarters Hotels of Oakwood Premier Incheon, Songdo Park Hotel, and the Hyatt Regency Incheon. Various smaller hotels, motels, hostels, guest houses, host families, and temple stays in and around Incheon are waiting to welcome the visitors.
All participants at the 2014 Asian Games must be accredited by the organizers. Different categories of participants, such as athletes, officials, media, and volunteers, follow different procedures for accreditation.
An online accreditation system was opened in December for persons affiliated with the Olympic Council of Asia, National Olympic Committees of the participating countries, and the international federations and Asian federations of the participating sports at the 2014 Asian Games. These and some 120 other authorities and organizations are responsible for approving the persons who will be accredited to participate in the Games. The IAGOC has provided the online accreditation page address, IDs, and passwords to the approving organizations responsible for accreditation. Individual applicants for accreditation will be given this login information by their affiliated organizations in due time, which will allow them access to the online accreditation system.
The online accreditation system is expected to handle the accreditation of some 100,000 persons involved at the 2014 Asian Games.
Preparations for participation of North Korea
The IAGOC believes that there is a good chance that North Korea will participate in the Asian Games in Incheon, and is preparing a master plan in preparation for that participation.
To the most recent Asian Games held in Korea, the 2002 Busan Asian Games, North Korea sent 316-person delegation (184 athletes, 132 officials). There, South Korean and North Korean delegations entered the Opening Ceremony together, relayed the Games Torch together, and participated in cultural programs together. North Korea also sent 244 persons (164 athletes, 80 officials ) to 2006 Doha Asian Games, and 304 persons to 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games (188 athletes, 116 officials), which leaves hope that they will also participate in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.
Accordingly, the IAGOC has established an 11-member task force team last November to prepare for North Korea’s participation. The task force team is set for delegation entry and departure, competitions, transportation, accommodation, protocols, security, and other relevant areas. —- OCA