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Chief organizer of PyeongChang 2018 says test events 'so far, so good'

All Headlines 17:19 February 05, 2017

By Joo Kyung-don

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb. 5 (Yonhap) -- The head of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games said Sunday that the test events for the Olympics this week have been "so far, so good," as the organizers are ready to learn from hosting top-tier competitions.

Lee Hee-beom, head of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG), said that two International Ski Federation (FIS) competitions here have been going well and he is satisfied with the operation, although everything isn't perfect.

The FIS Cross-Country World Cup and the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup are currently being staged in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul. The two FIS competitions are also test events of the PyeongChang Olympics. South Korea is hosting a World Cup competition in cross-country skiing and Nordic combined for the first time.

"We are trying to do everything the same as the Olympics," Lee said. "Security checks, fans and athlete management are close to what needs to be done at the Olympics."

Lee, however, admitted that there were some problems in transportation during the World Cup. There have been some incidents where a shuttle bus picked up athletes late, which interrupted their practice schedules.

"In test events, we are using some private vehicles because of cost issues," he said. "But at the Olympics, transportation needs to be done by shuttle buses. I know everything isn't perfect, but overall, I'm satisfied with the operation."

Lee said the organizers especially liked weather conditions here, which created better competition environments for the athletes.

"In cross-country, you need a lot of snow, but luckily we've had some snow this winter and that allowed us to save some money," he said. "Of course, the weather conditions will not be the same next year, but I hope we can have perfect weather conditions at the Olympics."

For the FIS World Cups, the organizers said more than 4,300 visited Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Center as of Saturday. Unlike International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in December, tickets were free for the two World Cups.

"I think the attendance for these two World Cups is okay," he said. "Tickets are not free for the upcoming Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, and 58 percent of tickets have been sold so far. I heard that lots of foreigners are buying tickets."

Lee said the organizers will keep learning from test events and make improvements for the PyeongChang Olympics.

"I know some fans complained about brochures and convenience issues during these test events, but we will work harder to fix problems," he added.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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