New training center opens at Jincheon
The ceremony had more than 2,000 guests, including Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon, Lee Kee-heung, the president of KSOC, and Do Jong-hwan, minister of culture, sports and tourism.
“We will open a new chapter in national team training by running the center with a future-oriented mind,” Lee Kee-heung was quoted as saying by Yonhap. “The Jincheon center is going to be pivotal for Korea to become an advanced sports country and we will make this a place where elite and recreational sports can co-exist and interact with one another.”
Though the construction plan was finalized in 2004, the construction of Jincheon center did not start until 2009. Now, after 9 years, Jincheon center has finally been completed, with a total budget of 513 billion won ($449 million).
Jincheon is five times the size of Taereung Center, or 1.59 million square meters (393 acres) compared to 310,000 square meters. Not only that, Jincheon center can accommodate up to 1,150 athletes in 35 different sports.
Compared to the Taereung Center, the facility, system and capacity is three times bigger, making Jincheon center an elite facility for the national team athletes. In addition, the weight training center is larger and can now hold up to 300 athletes.
“If Taereung Center was a cradle for Korean sports, Jincheon Center will be a base for its progress and development,” Prime Minister Lee was quoted as saying by Yonhap. “National athletes’ efforts and tears will remain forever at Taereung Center and people will remember it as long as they remember the enjoyment and inspiration of the Olympic Games.”
Taereung Center was first established in 1966, and throughout its 51 years, a total of 116 Olympic gold medals were earned by Korean athletes. KSOC said they hope to register the Taereung National Training Center as a cultural property by registering it with the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA).
As a part of the ceremony, former athletes - Kim Kwang-sun, boxing gold medalist at the 1998 Summer Game; Kim Mi-jung, judo Olympic gold medalist at the 1992 Olympics; Hur Jae, head coach of the Korean basketball team; Choi Yun-hui, gold medalist at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games; and weight lifters Won Jeong-sik and Yoon Jin-hee - shared their stories about training at Taereung.
Then Park Sang-young, who won a gold medal in the men’s epee at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Kim Kuk-young, who holds the Korean record in men’s 100 meter sprint, and Jin Jong-oh, a four-time Olympic gold medalist in shooting, spoke about their hopes for the upcoming Olympics.
To conclude the event, all participants at the ceremony sang “Hand in Hand,” the official song for the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Starting in mid-October, athletes will start moving training gear and equipment from Taereung to Jincheon. They plan to complete the move by excluding certain winter sports.
BY KIM HEE-SEON, KIM JI-HAN [email@example.com]