Moon govt. aims to enhance sports participation, accessibility

By Yonhap
  • Published : Jul 19, 2017 - 15:24
  • Updated : Aug 11, 2017 - 13:19

South Korea's Moon Jae-in administration will aim to improve the recreational sports environment in the country during its five-year term, so that more people can enjoy sports and activities, according to a state policy blueprint announced Wednesday.

Under the plan revealed by the State Affairs Planning Advisory Committee, a policy advisory panel for the government, the Moon administration will first try to expand community sports clubs that will provide various programs with instructors. There are currently 42 public sports clubs in the nation, but the government hopes to increase the number to 226 by 2022.

In this file photo taken on November 1, 2017, South Korean citizens enjoy playing in a recreational sports program at a gymnasium in Sejong. (Yonhap)
The government will also utilize more instructors for recreational sports programs and expand public sports facilities, according to the committee's report. There are currently some 2,600 sports instructors in the country to help people enjoy sports in their communities.

Government data show there are 22,662 public sports facilities, but 75.5 percent of them are small. The sports ministry said it will try to build or expand sports facilities so that people can have better access.

Compared to the United States or Japan, South Korea has a smaller number of gyms per capita. In South Korea, one gym covers 57,000 people, but the U.S. has one gym per 5,000, while Japan has one gym per 10,000.

The government said with the expansion of sports clubs, instructors and facilities, it aims to increase South Koreans' sport participation rate -- a measure of those who participate in sports at least once a week -- from 59.5 percent to 64.5 percent by 2022.

The Moon administration also planned to make taekwondo, the nation's traditional martial arts, a South Korean cultural content to boost Hallyu or the "Korean Wave." The government will first form a committee by August and develop cultural products related to taekwondo by 2022. It also pledged to support businesses related to taekwondo such as gear manufacturers.

In the immediate future, the Moon administration promised to host a successful 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games. The government said it will help make sure construction on Games venues is completed in time and beef up promotion of the Olympics and Paralympics in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province. (Yonhap)