The main stadium to be used during this year’s Asian Games in Incheon opened on Wednesday, about four months ahead of the start of the multi-sport competition.
The Incheon Asiad Main Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as athletics and cricket events, during the Sept. 19-Oct. 4 Asian Games here in the western port city.
The stadium will have 61,944 seats, according to the Asiad organizers. After the conclusion of the competition, the stadium will be modified into a public cultural center with about 31,000 seats.
The dedication ceremony was attended by about 5,000 local residents and civic leaders. Organizers canceled festivities in light of last month’s sinking of the ferry Sewol, which left more than 300 people dead or missing.
After a moment of silence for the victims of the accident, participants took a brief tour of the stadium before cutting the ribbon on the facility. Organizers invited 2,014 people, symbolizing the year of the Asian Games, to do the honors, and said they’ve asked the Korea Record Institute to verify the figure as the largest ever to take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“By hosting a successful Asian Games at such a great venue, Incheon will transform into the center of sports and culture,” said Incheon mayor Song Young-gil. “I expect enthusiastic participation by our residents to ensure a great competition.”
The Incheon competition will be the third Asian Games held in South Korea, after Seoul in 1986 and Busan in 2002. (Yonhap)