Tone set for the Incheon Games
Korea all prepped up to host its third Games
: The presence of the three life size mascots, along with Korean music and a dance performance by artistes from Kerala set the tone for the run-up to the Asian Games to be staged in Incheon, Korea, from September 19 to October 4.
Ace archer Deepika Kumari and double Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar, selected as the goodwill ambassadors for the Asian Games, expressed their desire to be part of a better medal tally this time.
The slogan of the 17th Asian Games, “Diversity shines here”, was depicted nicely in the road show organised on Tuesday in the capital, which had hosted the first Asian Games in 1951.
The presence of the new set of office-bearers of the Indian Olympic Association, led by president N. Ramachandran, and the assurance of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) delivered by its secretary general Randhir Singh, of total support gave a hint that the preparations for the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games prior to that in Glasgow would be tackled in a professional fashion.
Even though the Sports Minister Jitendra Singh could not be present, the government and Sports Authority of India (SAI) representatives were present in strength, and expressed solidarity about the common goal to win more medals this time than ever before.Economically effective
After the Summer Olympics, the Asian Games may be the biggest sporting event in the world, with 36 disciplines including eight non-Olympic events, but the President of the Incheon Asian Games Organising Committee (IAGOC), Kim Youngsoo, said that every effort was being made towards an economically effective Games so as to give hope for the future hosts with possibly tight budgets. It will be the third Asian Games to be hosted by Korea after Seoul (1986) and Busan (2002). The organisers have promised ‘to build harmony and share the glory of victory’.
As another token of goodwill, the Korean organisers also presented $1500 each to the badminton academy run by P. Gopi Chand and the Markandeshwar Hockey Centre.
The IAGOC president said that arrangements were being made for the safe participation of North Korea, but stated that there was no decision as yet about the two Koreas competing under one flag.
The president of IOA, N. Ramachandran, was categorical in stating that he would be able to answer various questions, including the possible bid for hosting future Asian Games, only after the meeting of the Executive Committee scheduled on April 3.
After expressing confidence about delivering the best medal tally in the Asian Games, despite it being a heavy season with the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships, Deepika Kumari and Sushil Kumar, posed with the three mascots — Vichuon (light), Barame (wind) and Chumuro (dance) — to cap a memorable presentation.