Incheon Asian Games
Incheon Asian Games will be held 19th September to 4th October of this year. It is held every four years, and most Asian nations participate. Korea has hosted the Asian Games three times including this year in Incheon; it was held in Seoul in 1986 and in Busan in 2002. The Asian Games were the first held Asian country games after the Second World War. The countries dreamt of a peaceful new means of alternative development for the understanding of each nation, not using power like the war in the past. For that reason, during the London Olympic in 1948, Guru Dutt Sondhi, the Indian International Olympic Committee (IOC) representative, suggested Asian nation only games to pioneer Asian sports. South Korea, the Philippines, Myanmar, India, China, and Sri Lanka all agreed to participate in such games. The Incheon Asian Games’ motto is Diversity Shines Here, meaning shining light on Asian nations’ diverse history, culture, tradition, and religion, and aspiring for Asian nations’ future peace through friendship and harmony. In total, 45 nations are scheduled to participate in this year’s games in Incheon, and 36 competitive games will be played. However, there are some problems surrounding the Incheon Asian Games. Most of them are financial. Incheon officials have been pushing ahead with the scheduling of the Games despite problems. Because of financial problems like budgeting for construction of new stadiums, needed facilities like development of a new subway line, and financial support, which was received by Incheon University every year. Also, after the Asian Games, stadium holding costs will also be a problem. In case of Seoul, which held the Seoul Asian Games in 1986 and the Seoul Olympics in 1988, the Seoul Sports Complex for those games cost 12 billion won a year to maintain. Moreover, the complex has cost 100 billion won over the last 10 years. Seoul Sports Complex lies unused more than 300 days a year, so it really places a burden on the nation. Incheon Asian Games is about to start in 6 months. Like Park Taehwan and Son Yeonjae, there are many athletes in Korea participating in the games and they face expectations of the nation. Although Incheon’s financial situation is not good, Incheon is doing all it can to ensure the success of the Incheon Asian Games. However, it remains to be seen whether Incheon will overcome this crisis overcome or face an increased crisis.
On February 7th, the 2014 Winter Olympics began in Sochi, Russia. Sochi Olympics opened at 20:14, corresponding to the year 2014. Sochi Olympics is famous for hosting more representatives from the most various nations. In the games, 88 nations, the greatest number of nations in Olympic history, participated. Also, the highest number of athletes (2,873) competed in the 15 plays for the 98 gold medals. The game was recorded as the most expensive Olympics ever; Russia spent over 50 billion dollars on the games. There were also special medals being presented at Sochi. Russia awarded meteor gold medals that were made from a meteorite which landed the Ural Mountains in Russia, on February 15th, 2013. The Sochi Olympics committee decided to present these meteor gold medals to winners of 7 games to commemorate an anniversary of the meteor’s launching. One of the medals was given to Viktor Ahn (Ahn Hyunsoo), a naturalized Russia citizen from Korea. However, problems have arisen at the Olympics. First of all, controversy related to bias judging is the biggest issue. Especially, Korean figure skater Kim Yuna’s farewell game is masked in controversy as some feel she should have received gold for her perfect performance. For this reason, the Korea Sports Council (KSC) has decided to intercede in the issue with the Olympic committee. Additionally, problems related to construction of Sochi’s stadium are spreading. Human Right Watch, an international human rights group, said, “6,000 workers from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan were forced to work more than 12 hours a day by having their passports confiscated.” Also, according to BWI, an international construction workers group, 60 people died during Sochi Olympic preparation. Despite problems, Sochi Olympics finally closed well. Yet, Sochi should not forget how many people endeavored and sacrificed to achieve the success of this event. Now, the next Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang, Korea. Koreans need to know what went wrong at Sochi and learn from the faults to avoid similar problems. It’s time for global eyes to turn to Korea.
Brazil FIFA World Cup
The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be held in Brazil from the 12th of June to the 13th of July. Brazil was selected to host the event on October 30th 2007, making this the second time the World Cup is held in the country. The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be the first World Cup to introduce a goal-line reader. Introduction of the technology was met with opposition due to conventional ideals that a referee’s bad call is also part of the game. However, critical bad calls at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012 showed the importance of and need for the technology at the World Cup. Now, there are only a few months until the games, but there are still lots of unresolved issues regarding the games in Brazil. With only three months to go, Brazil has been criticized for not only construction progress (only 7 of the need 12 stadiums are complete), but also for its slow progress in extending infrastructures at airports in its main cities. For example, at the airport in Fortaleza, Ceará, only 26% of the construction is complete and there is a high possibility that tourists during the World Cup season will have to use temporarily established airport terminals built with the use of tents. Also, there is concern over the weather in Brazil at the time. Secretary General of FIFPro said, “Important Brazil World Cup problems are hidden by concerns over the 2022 Qatar World Cup. It is a severe problem that some games are being scheduled at 1 p.m, considering Brazil’s tropical climate.” Moreover, there were even World Cup opposition demonstrations in Brazil in January. The protests were initiated through SNS sites by the extremist group Black Bloc. Demonstrators strolled the streets with signs that read, “We Do Not Need a World Cup!” and “For Whom is the World Cup for?” They insist that the finances used on the games could be better spent on areas that improve Brazilians’ lives. The president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff is planning to deal with the problems by communicating with citizens and strengthening public security. Currently, Brazil faces several problems. Although its government is making an effort to solve them, the world should pay careful attention. As Korean tourists might visit the country and Korean soccer players are participating in the games, these problems affect Korean citizens. The issues mentioned above can pose a threat to our players, friends, and family. Let’s hope the Brazilian government takes sufficient measures to secure sport teams’ and visitors’ safety.