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Alpine skiing venue officially opens for competition

All News 11:53 January 22, 2016

By Yoo Jee-ho

JEONGSEON, South Korea, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean alpine skiing venue for an upcoming Winter Games test event officially opened Friday, two days after receiving its approval from the sport's international governing body.

The Jeongseon Alpine Centre, venue for the International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine Skiing World Cup on Feb. 6-7, was declared ready for the competition in an opening ceremony.

Jeongseon, some 210 kilometers east of Seoul in Gangwon Province, will be among the sub-host cities of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. These cities will stage international events in the months leading up to the actual Olympics to test their venues.

Men's downhill and Super-G races will take place at the new Jeongseon course, the first of 28 test events in Olympic and Paralympic sports. The schedule includes five world championships.

Construction for the Jeongseon Alpine Centre appeared to fall behind schedule as recently as December, owing to administrative snags and inclement weather, prompting the FIS and also the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to express concern.

Workers won their battle against time, and on Wednesday, Guenter Hujara, technical expert for FIS, said the slope was ready to host the skiing competition.

Cho Yang-ho, head of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics organizing committee, said getting the course ready for the World Cup was "a small miracle."

"Amid concerns about damaging the environment and unusually warm winter weather, there were understandably a lot of concerns, and it wasn't easy to break ground on the venue," Cho said at the opening ceremony. "We've overcome much adversity to be able to host the test event on time. We'll prepare for this competition like an actual Olympic race, and hopefully, we'll create a boom for the Olympics with a successful World Cup."

In his congratulatory remarks, Hujara said he had no doubt the athletes will fall in love with the new venue.

"I just came down the race course in the morning, and I can tell you that Jeongseon is a race course that can easily compare with other Olympic and classic World Cup courses," he said. "At the beginning of February, we'll see that the best athletes in the world really perform on a highly developed race course."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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