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Daegu confident ahead of worlds

The organizer of the Daegu World Championships said Monday that they are “confident” of hosting a successful athletics event this summer.

More than 2,000 athletes, including thee-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, will be competing at Korea’s first ever IAAF World Championships in Daegu, some 300 km southeast of Seoul.

“We’re striving to make it one of the greatest athletics games in history,” said Moon Dong-hoo, the vice president of Daegu Organizing Committee. 
Participants at the launching ceremony of Samsung Electronics’ campaign for the Daegu Athletics Championships pose at the company’s head office in southern Seoul on Monday. (From left) Kwon Gye-hyun, head of sports marketing of Samsung Electronics; national javelin thrower Park Jae-myung; Moon Dong-ho, vice president of the Daegu Organizing Committee; long jumper Jung Soon-ok; and John C.U. Kim, vice president of the Korea Association of Athletics Federations. (Yonhap News)
Participants at the launching ceremony of Samsung Electronics’ campaign for the Daegu Athletics Championships pose at the company’s head office in southern Seoul on Monday. (From left) Kwon Gye-hyun, head of sports marketing of Samsung Electronics; national javelin thrower Park Jae-myung; Moon Dong-ho, vice president of the Daegu Organizing Committee; long jumper Jung Soon-ok; and John C.U. Kim, vice president of the Korea Association of Athletics Federations. (Yonhap News)

There are now less than 100 days to go until the World Championships, and the newly upgraded Daegu Stadium is “fully ready” to host the global event, according to Moon. “Over the past four years, we’ve worked hard to prepare the championships,” he said.

The vice president, however, admitted that ticket sales need to be improved. He noted that about 47 percent of the total tickets are still up for sale.

“It’s disappointing and I’m a little bit worried about the tickets. But we still have some time,” he added.

Now Samsung Electronics, the country’s biggest company, is stepping up to help boost ticket sales by offering their promotional campaign.

The flagship company of the Samsung Group, which is sponsoring the 2011 IAAF World Championships, launched a new campaign for the event Monday.

As a part of project entitled “How to Play Smart,” Samsung turned to the social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook as a new platform to promote the athletics event.

On Monday, the company released promotional video clips featuring national athletes on the web. And it is now to launch an on-line athletics game to attract more worldwide attention, according Kwon Gye-hyun, the head of sport marketing team of Samsung Electronics.

“Since 2009, we have supported the IAAF athletics events. And we’re more than delighted to be a part of the 2011 World Championships in our home in Daegu,” Kwon said at the special ceremony on Monday at the company’s head office in Seoul.

To help make it a successful event, Samsung is also planning to stage a pop concert and special exhibitions during the World Championships.

Meanwhile, national team long jumper Jung Soon-ok, who won the gold at the 2010 Asian Games, said at the ceremony that she has high hopes for the home event. “I’m hoping to break into the finals, and possibly standing on the podium,” Jung said.

The 2011 IAAF World Championships, which is scheduled from Aug. 27-Sept. 4, ranks second only to the FIFA World Cup as a single sport event that can bring together more than 2,000 athletes from around the world.

Earlier this month, Daegu successfully hosted the Colorful Daegu Pre Championships meeting, which was seen as a dress rehearsal for this summer’s IAAF Word Championships. The event drew more than 220 international athletes competing in 16 events. “We’re working hard to make a successful World Championships this summer. We’re expecting a fantastic atmosphere with a full stadium,” Moon added.

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