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‘Daegu will become the mecca of Asian athletics’

 With just 30 days to go until the opening of the IAAF World Championships, local organizers are busy making final preparations.

Jerry Ling, 34, from Singapore, is among the officials who have been working day and night trying to deliver the best ever athletics competition in Daegu.

“I joined the Local Organizing Committee in 2009 and have been busy preparing for the Championships ever since,” Ling told The Korea Herald.
Jerry Ling, the director of international liaison of Daegu Organizing Committee
Jerry Ling, the director of international liaison of Daegu Organizing Committee

Ling, who is married to a Korean, worked at the World Taekwondo Federation before joining the Daegu organizing committee. He now serves as the director of international liaison at the LOC, leading a team of interpreters and attending meetings with the IAAF.

“I may be a foreigner but I am very excited that Daegu is hosting such a prestigious event, so I hope that the citizens of Korea will share the same enthusiasm I have,” he said.

Q: With only 30 days to go until the Daegu World Championships, what work remains?

A: I am pleased to say that we have delivered almost all of our goals, including the refurbishments to the Daegu Stadium and other competition facilities, and the nationwide promotion of the Championships. Our focus is now to ensure the smooth delivery of the Championships and related meetings, as well as attracting as many spectators as possible.

Q: There are some worries over ticket sales and the number of spectators. Can Daegu successfully host the World Championships?

A: This is a situation that every Local Organizing Committee faces, not only in Daegu or athletics but in any city and sport. It is a fact that the level of understanding and interest in athletics is not that high in Korea, but the World Championships in Daegu will hopefully change the perception of the sport.

Q: Is there any special feature in the Daegu event compared with the previous IAAF events?

A: This is the first IAAF World Championships to feature a “true” Athletes’ Village. The Daegu Stadium features one of the fastest tracks in the world, and it is also the first blue-colored track in Korea.

Q: What kinds of legacy will the Daegu Championships leave in Daegu and Korea?

A: I believe that the successful hosting of the IAAF World Championships in Daegu will help raise the profile and technical standards of athletics in Korea, and also in Asia. The Athletics Promotion Centre, which houses the Athletics Academy, is currently being constructed; upon completion, Daegu and Korea will hopefully become the Mecca of Athletics, at least in Asia.

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