The metropolitan city of Incheon hopes to use an upcoming national multisport competition to prepare for a larger international event it will host next year, the city’s deputy mayor said Wednesday.
Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, will stage the 94th National Sports Festival from Oct. 18 to 24, bringing together 22,000 athletes and 8,000 officials in 44 medal sports and two demonstration events.
The city will also hold the 2014 Asian Games next September, as the third South Korean host of the quadrennial continental competition.
At a press conference here, Jo Myoung-u, deputy mayor of Incheon, said staging the national event will be an important opportunity for the city with the Asian Games less than a year away.
“The most important task for us at the National Sports Festival is to prepare ourselves for the Asian Games,” Jo said, adding that the majority of some 500 staffers at the Asian Games organizing committee will work for the National Sports Festival to gain more first-hand experience in hosting a multisport competition.
Jo also said he hoped Incheon residents will rally around the National Sports Festival.
“We’re a city of almost 3 million people, but they come from many different backgrounds,” the official said. “I think holding a major national event will help bring together our people and make them feel proud to be living in the city.”
The National Sports Festival in Incheon will take place across 65 venues. Stars from last year’s London Olympics will compete for their home cities and provinces.
Swimmer Park Tae-hwan, four-time Olympic medalist, will compete for the host city. Yang Hak-seon, gold medalist in men’s vault in artistic gymnastics, Ki Bo-bae, double gold medalist in women’s archery, and Shin A-lam, silver medal winner in women’s epee fencing, will also enter the National Sports Festival this year. (Yonhap News)