Organizers of the upcoming Asian Games in Incheon opened their athletes’ village for the first time on Tuesday, allowing a sneak peek into newly constructed facilities that will accommodate some 14,500 athletes and officials during the competition.
The Asian Games will run from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4. Incheon, a metropolitan city just west of the capital, is the third South Korean host of the Asian Games, after Seoul in 1986 and Busan in 2002.
The athletes’ village is located in Guwol-dong in the central part of the city. According to the organizers, it’s about a 40-minute drive from Incheon International Airport and a 20-minute drive from the Main Media Center to be used during the Asian Games.
The village features 2,220 units in 22 new apartment buildings in three blocks.
The apartment buildings are inside the Residential Zone. The International Zone holds the athletes’ dining hall; a polyclinic; the NOC Services Center, which offers postal, administrative and ticketing services for athletes; and other leisure facilities. The Public Zone will host the Transport Mall and the Welcome Center.
The apartment units will come in three different sizes: 74 square meters, 84 square meters and 101 square meters. Each unit will hold up to seven athletes: three beds in the master bedroom, and two beds each in two smaller rooms.
To cater to athletes from different backgrounds, the organizers have also set up religious centers and prayer rooms for Christians, Muslims and Buddhists.
The athletes’ cafeteria will operate 24 hours a day starting on Sept. 12. The buffet-style dining hall can hold up to 3,500 people, serving 548 items in total on a five-day rolling period. Korean, Asian, Western and Halal dishes will be served.
The village will officially open on Sept. 12, and the athletes will start moving in the following day.
Lee Elisa, a former table tennis world champion serving as the mayor of the athletes’ village, said the athletic quarters will serve as “a place of global exchange” for athletes from 45 countries across the continent, including North Korea.
“We have prepared the athletes’ village to be the place where everyone can come together to build friendship and leave with unforgettable memories,” Lee said. “Above all, we have worked hard to create an environment to help the athletes perform to their capabilities.” (Yonhap)