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PyeongChang Winter Olympic facilities to be transformed to sports complex, cultural center

All News 15:17 September 24, 2019

CHUNCHEON, South Korea, Sept. 24 (Yonhap) -- Competition venues from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea's east coast will be turned into a sports and convention center and cultural facilities, the local government said Tuesday.

Choi Moon-soon, governor of Gangwon Province, announced plans to turn three PyeongChang Winter Games facilities into profitable spaces. They are Gangneung Oval, Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung, 230 kilometers east of Seoul, and Olympic Sliding Centre in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of the capital.

This photo provided by Gangwon Province shows its governor, Choi Moon-soon (L), speaking at a press conference at the provincial headquarters on Sept. 24, 2019, in Chuncheon, 85 kilometers east of Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

In a press briefing at the provincial government headquarters in Chuncheon, 85 kilometers east of Seoul, Choi said Gangeung Oval, which held Olympic speed skating races, will become a multi-purpose sports and convention facility. Gangneung Hockey Centre will host sporting events and art performances. Olympic Sliding Centre will be a sports experience facility where visitors can try wheel bobsleigh in summers and bobsleigh in winters, among other activities.

"We'll try to add profitable facilities to sports centers," Choi said. "Our objective is to turn to surplus within three years."

After the first Winter Games to take place in South Korea ended February last year, the organizers had been scrambling to devise plans to make the use of competition venues.

With the organizing committee and Gangwon authorities unable to come up with a solution on the remaining venues for speed skating, hockey and sliding sports, the province was running an operating deficit.

Earlier this year, PyeongChang said the former headquarters for the organizing committee will become a sports training center, and the International Broadcasting Centre will be turned into a national archives.

Venues for curling, snowboarding, ski jumping, cross-country skiing and biathlon have been kept intact and will continue to host sports competitions.

This photo provided by the sports ministry on Feb. 6, 2019, shows the aerial venues of the Olympic Sliding Centre in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

To that end, Gangwon also announced its bid to host the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics.

Choi said the province has submitted its letter of interest to the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC).

The Youth Olympic Games, organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), were inaugurated with the summer edition in 2010. The first winter competition was held in Innsbruck, Austria, in 2012. Lausanne, Switzerland, will host the 2020 competition, and the host for the 2024 event will be determined at the IOC Session in July next year.

"If we bring the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics to Gangwon, it will help revitalize the local economy," Choi said. "And it will also ensure balanced growth across Gangwon Province and help raise the profile of the country as much as the PyeongChang Winter Olympics did."

The KSOC will conduct on-site inspection sometime in October and submit the province's bid to the ICO before the end of this year.

Choi added he hoped to make North Korea a part of the youth competition, with the North's Masikryong Ski Resort potentially hosting skiing events.

This file photo from Feb. 6, 2019, shows an aerial view of Gangneung Oval in Gangneung, 230 kilometers east of Seoul. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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