The new home of elite sports in Korea finally opened on Wednesday at Jincheon Sports Village in Chungcheongbuk-do Province. The center replaces Taereung National Training Center in Seoul, which had served the country's top athletes since 1966.
More than 2,000 people, including Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon , Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Do Jong-hwan , and President of the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee Lee Kee-heung , attended the opening ceremony.
"We have built the world's largest sports village in Jincheon as the first step toward the further development of sport in Korea. In particular, this future-oriented village will open up a new platform to strengthen the athletes' training system."
Construction of the sports village in Jincheon started in 2009 and cost over 450 million U.S. dollars. The site is three times larger than the complex at Taereung, and has facilities for 35 sports, including some, like cycling, rugby and the triathlon, that the old complex was lacking.
"Taereung is in Seoul and it was built in the 60s, so the training facilities couldn't be expanded. But, since there is a clear difference with the size of its area, I think the best part of the change is in the scale of the village."
The first test for Jincheon sports village will be the preparations for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, where Korea is targeting a fourth place finish in the medal table, focusing on the speed skating, short track, and bobsleigh events. But the support system provided by Jincheon will help Korean sport long after Pyeongchang 2018's closing ceremony.
"The opening of Jincheon Sports Village marks a new chapter for Korean elite sports, and will hopefully help sports in the country to develop while building on the legacy of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News, Jincheon"