PyeongChang ready for Winter Olympics: POCOG president

Updated 2018-02-06 17:15:07 Xinhua

Lee Hee-beom, the president of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games organizing committee (POCOG), said on Tuesday that the host country is ready to present an exciting Games to the world featuring friendly competition and communicating a message of peace.

Lee told a press conference that all sectors are "fully operational" as the delegations have settled down, athletes are training well and volunteers and security forces are all in place.

The POCOG president highlighted the message of peace that the Olympics has sent to the world, especially after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) decided to send a high-level delegation, led by Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK, to the opening ceremony.

Lee also hailed the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, together with the next edition of Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, as the beginning of an era in Asia for winter sports, which has long been dominated by European and north American countries.

The host is expected to receive a record number of 2,925 athletes to compete in 102 events with the support of a total of 55,684 crew, including 14,647 volunteers, according to the Games organizers.

Lee announced that POCOG has basically achieved a balanced budget. The ticket sales are picking up after a sluggish start and have been called "not bad" by the POCOG president as the opening ceremony draws near.

"As of Feb. 5, we had sold 77.3 percent of the tickets, meaning, 826,000 tickets were sold, with a daily average sales of more than 7,000 tickets," said Kim Ki-hong, a POCOG senior official at the press conference, adding the tickets for the opening and closing ceremony and events such as figure skating, semifinals and finals for men's ice hockey are particularly popular.

Responding to a huge public concern about the cold and windy weather, which is to pose a great challenge for the spectators for the upcoming opening ceremony and athletes for the outdoor events, Lee said POCOG has drafted additional countermeasures.

Lee presented the kit for an estimated 35,000 spectators at the opening ceremony, which includes a beanie, a blanket, a hot pack set, a cushion and a raincoat, to battle temperatures on the night on Feb. 9 that are expected to go below minus 10 degrees Celsius.

Lee also promised more heaters, wind shields, snack bars with hot food and heated rest areas at the roofless opening ceremony venue.

"Plus, so far as I was concerned, the day is getting warmer on Feb. 8, so I don't think the cold will be a issue at the opening ceremony," said Lee, who didn't rule out the possibility of delays or even cancellations of some outdoor events in case of strong wind.

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