Pyeongchang Paralympics bringing optimism to South Koreans


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Pyeongchang, South Korea – Interest in the 2018 Pyeongchang Iciness Paralympics, which birth on Friday, is gaining momentum on the bottom.

Organisers possess managed to sell bigger than 285,000 tickets, which is quite A hundred thirty % of their target of 220,000. These Games will be the greatest in ancient past, with 570 athletes from 49 countries taking phase.

The stage of hobby in the Games is an surprising turnaround for the organisers. The pleasure rides on the coattails of the a success Olympics that wrapped up less than two weeks prior to now.

« Once we had been here six months prior to now, we had been taking into consideration the mark gross sales, » Andrew Parsons, president of the Global Paralympics Committee (IPC), told Al Jazeera.

« South Koreans don’t need this to cease. This is the last likelihood that they’ll plod to the venues and search for some thrilling sports actions. »

Adding to the occasion is a rare display cloak of unity between the two Koreas demonstrated by the ancient joint females’s ice hockey personnel agreed by officers from either side at a landmark excessive-stage inter-Korean meeting in January. 

The circulate used to be before the entirety unpopular in South Korea. However, a modified sentiment used to be echoed at a Paralympics torch match in the capital Seoul over the weekend.

« No subject whether it used to be deliberate or now not, how we got there used to be bigger than the end result. As a Korean, I search for it as a honest circulate. » Said Lee Jong-ho, a Seoul resident who got here to the match with his wife and two kids.

North Korea sent a 24-member delegation to South Korea on Wednesday for the Iciness Games, the first time it’s far taking phase in the Iciness Paralympics.

Flag factors

All aspects had been presupposed to march collectively under a unified Korean flag at the gap ceremony. However that is now not going to happen attributable to variations over what is placed on the flag.

North Korea wished a flag that involves the disputed island Dokdo, which is is known as Takeshima in Japan.

The island is administered by South Korea and claimed by Japan. North Korea also insists that Dokdo belongs to the Korean nation.

The Global Paralympic Committee (IPC) did now not allow the flag with Dokdo, announcing it will violate the prohibition of political expression.

Regardless, the organisers are hoping the match will send one other stable message of peace, dispelling worries that the North’s participation will be misused for the secretive affirm’s propaganda agenda. 

« It used to be now not politics the utilize of a sports actions match. It is miles the assorted potential spherical. It brings people collectively, » added Parsons.

South Korea’s organising committee plans to maximise this opportunity to amplify exchanges with North Korea.

« We would prefer to back produce the para-sports actions [in North Korea], and we hope these Paralympics can play a honest role in reunification. » Lee Myung-ho, the president South Korea’s Paralympic Committee, said.

South Korea’s Paralympic personnel is decided to emulate the success of the Iciness Olympics squad, starting up off to compile a minimal of 4 medals.

« For an athlete, the public’s give a enhance to and consideration are main and encouraging. However, we’re staunch homing in on the function. » Said Jang Jong-ho, a member of the squad.

Many South Koreans are planning a day out to Pyeongchang and Gangenung to search around for the Games.

« We noticed a truly a success Iciness Olympics. I imagine we can search for one other equally a success Paralympics, » said Cho In-ae, a Seoul resident. 

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