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Firefighters Games open with a splash in Chungju

A major international sporting event for firefighters has opened with great fanfare in the central city of Chungju, North Chungcheong, bringing together more than 6,000 firefighters from across the globe.

Often called “the mini-Olympics for firefighters,” the 2018 World Firefighters Games (WFG), which kicked off Sunday with an opening ceremony, is slated to run till Sept. 18 in Chungju and six neighboring towns - Cheongju, Jecheon, Eumseong County, Goesan County, Danyang County and Jincheon County.

About 6,700 full-time, volunteer, industrial and military fire service personnel and their families from 64 countries worldwide are participating in the 13th edition of the biennial WFG.

A series of performances, including an Air Force aerobatics show, was held before the official opening ceremony at the Chungju Sports Complex, which was attended by such dignitaries as Interior Minister Kim Boo-kyum and North Chungcheong Province Gov. Lee Si-jong.

The pre-opening gala also included a muster game, in which participants attired in clothes of their own countries put on a performance. It is also an official event, whose winners will be determined by creativeness, spectators’ response and expressiveness.

The largest-ever WFG involves 75 individual and team sporting events, including rugby, shooting and swimming. Some events have been prepared for firefighters’ family members.

The governing body of the games, based in Perth, Australia, signed a deal in May last year with the government of North Chungcheong, to which Chungju belongs, on hosting the competition. The inaugural WFG was held in New Zealand in 1990. In 2010, Daegu hosted the event.


Bento’s boys aim for 2nd victory against Chile today

Korea will try to collect a second straight win under Paulo Bento when they take on Chile in a friendly football match this week.

Korea will host Chile at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi, today. It will be Korea’s second match with Bento, who took the helm last month.

Korea got off to a good start with Bento after a 2-0 win over Costa Rica on Friday, thanks to goals from Lee Jae-sung and Nam Tae-hee. But Chile is considered stronger opponents than Costa Rica and is likely to give stern tests to Bento’s side.

Chile, led by Reinaldo Rueda, are ranked 12th in the latest FIFA rankings, 45 spots higher than Korea. They missed the 2018 FIFA World Cup but were the runners-up at the 2017 Confederations Cup and topped Copa America in 2015 and 2016.

Korea and Chile have met only once. The two sides clashed in a friendly match in Seoul 10 years ago, and Chile took a 1-0 win. Chile’s defensive midfielder Gary Medel is the only man from the both teams who played in the 2008 friendly.

Chile’s 24-man squad doesn’t include their star forwards Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas, but boasts a strong midfield line led by FC Barcelona’s Arturo Vidal, who is known for his energetic plays on the pitch. Charles Aranguiz of Bayer Leverkusen and Medel also present difficult challenges in the midfield.

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