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Olympic Council of Asia President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah met with the President of the Republic of Korea, Lee Myung Bak, at the Blue House in Seoul.
OCA President visits Blue House in Seoul for talks with Korean President

16 Nov 2011
Incheon, Korea: Olympic Council of Asia President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah met with the President of the Republic of Korea, Lee Myung Bak, at the Blue House in Seoul on Wednesday to discuss central government support for the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, Korea, in 2014.

His Excellency Sheikh Ahmad also met with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Park Hee Tae, and said later he was satisfied that the central government was totally behind the Incheon Asian Games.

“After both meetings they have given their blessing, guidance and support for the Asian Games,” he told guests at a dinner hosted by the President of organising committee IAGOC, Dr Lee Yun Taek, at the Sheraton Hotel Incheon on Wednesday evening.

“This is the start of our cooperation, but it will never be the end. We have to think positive, not negative, because we are investing in our infrastructure, the city, the youth and the sports people. All these targets, goals and dreams will be a reality.”

On Tuesday, Sheikh Ahmad began his East Asia swing by meeting the Mayor of Incheon, Song Young Gil, IAGOC President Dr Lee Yun Taek and Korean Olympic Committee President Park Yong Sung.

The following day, his meetings with the Korean President and National Assembly Speaker in Seoul were followed by a press conference at the Meet-You-All Tower in Incheon, which now houses the organising committee of the 2013 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games and the 2014 Asian Games.

Speaking at the press conference, the OCA President said he felt more confident about the success of the next Asian Games in three years’ time following his high-level meetings.

The two main topics of conversation with President Lee were the support by Asia for PyeongChang’s successful bid to host the Winter Olympics in 2018, and the need for the central government, political parties and citizens of Korea to support the Incheon Asian Games in 2014.

Sheikh Ahmad reflected on the success of the Asian Games in Seoul in 1986 and in Busan in 2002, and was confident that Incheon, with the support of the central government, and the OCA, with the support of the Asian sports federations and National Olympic Committees, could follow this trend in 2014.

“We are more confident the situation is stable and we are going in the right direction,” he added.

Sheikh Ahmad admitted that it was a serious worry that the Korean central government would focus only on the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang to the detriment of the 2013 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games and 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, but added he felt more relaxed about the support.

Incheon, like Guangzhou, host of the 16th Asian Games in 2010, had its own targets and aims, he added, and listed some benefits for the southern Chinese metropolis.

“The 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou were followed by 2.8 billion people on TV; all the extra infrastructure of Guangzhou city was completed because of the Asian Games to make the city an economic and financial hub of the region; tourism has increased 6.5 per cent from last year because of the Asian Games, and Guangzhou has found new business markets and investment in the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia,” he said.

Sheikh Ahmad said the OCA was working in partnership with the Incheon organisers to reduce the costs of the Games.
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