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National winter sports festival gets under way

PYEONGCHANG, Gangwon Province ― With PyeongChang getting into full swing to impress the IOC evaluation commission, Korea’s best winter sports athletes gathered here Tuesday for the 92nd National Winter Sports Festival.

The annual competition kicked off Tuesday with the opening ceremony at Yongpyong Resort in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province.

More than 2,300 athletes, including Vancouver gold trio Lee Seung-hun, Mo Tae-bum and Lee Sang-hwa, and Asian No. 1 alpine skier Jung Dong-huyn, are competing at the country’s biggest winter sports extravaganza.
Participants of the 92nd National Winter Sports Festival take their vows under oath of the games on Tuesday at Yongpyong Resort, PyeongChang. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
Participants of the 92nd National Winter Sports Festival take their vows under oath of the games on Tuesday at Yongpyong Resort, PyeongChang. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

Earlier this month, the athletes were teamed up for the Winter Asian Games, helping Korea to finish third in the overall medal table with 12 gold medals.

Fresh from Asiad, they are now facing each other to win the national titles, representing their own hometown.

From Feb.15 to Feb. 18, the four-day competition is taking place across the country.

Speed skating events are at the Taeneung Ice Rink in Seoul, while short track speed skating events are at the Chuncheon Ice Rink. Alpine ski games are taking place at the Yongpyong Resort, and the Alpensia Resort is holding cross country and biathlon events.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Park Yong-sung, head of the Korea Olympic Council, said: “This competition has been the main reason behind Korea’s success in becoming a winter sports powerhouse.”

And this year, in particular, the competition will be a good opportunity to demonstrate the country’s level of competitiveness in winter sports to the IOC members, he added.

The 14-member delegation, led by Gunilla Lindberg of Sweden, is now in PyeongChang to evaluate the city’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

“PyeongChang is working hard to bring the Winter Games here for the first time, and we’re now facing an important task,” Park added.

By Oh Kyu-wook (596story@heraldcorp.com)
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