North attends sports congress

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North attends sports congress


North Korean officials arrive at the Incheon International Airport on Tuesday to attend the draw for the 2014 Asian Games’ football tournament to be played in September. [NEWSIS]

North Korea said yesterday through one of its delegates that the 2014 Incheon Asian Games would help to instill peace within Asia and that it respected all the ideologies represented in Olympic sporting events.

Yang Song-ho, the dean of the Korean University of Physical Education in Pyongyang, who represented North Korea in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games International Sports Science Congress, also said that the country would try to cooperate with people in the global sports community as a member of the Asian Olympics Committee.

It was the first time the nation participated in a sports forum organized by South Korea. Yang was among several sports scholars to deliver one of five key note speeches at the start of yesterday’s event, held in the Songdo Convensia in the western port city of Incheon.

“I believe that the Incheon Asian Games will be a great opportunity to strengthen the bonds among Asian nations and a chance to share in the diverse cultures of Asia,” he said. “We will try to take a part in every sporting event in Asia and in the world to promote friendly relations, unity and peace with every nation in the world.

“As a member of the Asian Olympics Committee, we will respect every ideology in the Olympics and will cooperate with the world in sports.”

Yang spent most of his speech praising a series of sports projects promoted by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, noting that the regime would present a 900 kilogram (1984-pound) oxen made of gold to the winner of the ssireum, or traditional Korean wrestling, tournament. The sport is held during every Chuseok holiday. He added that such events are held in order to raise North Koreans into stronger people, mentally and physically.

A total of 1,300 people including 300 sports researchers and university professors from nations including the United States, China, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore gathered to share their ideas in a series of symposiums at the sports congress.

Last week, the North submitted a list of 150 athletes who will participate in 14 of 36 sporting events at the Asian Games, which runs from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4. The organizing body of the congress was enthusiastic in promoting the international sports congress, as officials consider North Korea’s participation in the forum a success, though it was questionable whether its operations were progressing smoothly.

Organizers did not know the names of the seven people who accompanied Yang to the South and had no idea where they may have stayed during their three-day visit. They were also unsure just how many nations were participating in the sports congress, which runs until tomorrow.

When the Korea JoongAng Daily sought out that information from an official on the committee, she admitted that it was not sure how many nations - “more than 10” - were taking part.


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