Daegu – an example to the world
Posted on August 8th, 2011

Dr.Tilak Fernando

Commonwealth Games Evaluation Commission chairman Louis Martin and the Chief Executive Mike Hooper, visited Sri Lanka in June 2011 to assess Hambantota as a potential city to host the XXl Commonwealth Games to be held in 2018.

Subsequent to this recent news item, my Korean friend Doo Won Lee, based in Sri Lanka, elucidated me on how and to what extent Korean city of Daegu, with a population of 2.5 million, prepared for the IAAF World Championships at a cost around USD 2.4 billion – (cost reduction due to the existing Stadium which has been already constructed for the 2002 FIFA World Cup).

This international single event is ranked only second to the FIFA World Cup, which is expected to attract 2,000 athletes from 212 countries and territories for a nine day competition commencing on August 27, 2011 with an anticipated return of 142 Billion USD (infrastructure + financial effect after the games).

At a time Sri Lanka is warming up to host Commonwealth Games in 2018, perhaps it will help to study the Korean example as a guide to organize the 2018 event successfully. Sri Lanka’s motivation to host Commonwealth Games is fundamentally associated with long-term development not only for Hambantota but the Southern Province as a whole. Since Hambantota is currently developing to be the biggest investment zone in Sri Lanka with a port, an airport and mega amenities for sports, backed up by a strong financial commitment of billions of US dollars, it will be seen as a unique legacy after the country recovers from the devastation of the tsunami and 30 years of a terrorist conflict.


Daegu city. Picture courtesy: Google

Daegu city

Daegu City is 87,294 sq. miles in size with a population of 2.5 million. The provision of the world’s first wireless broadband Internet service (Wibro) and DMB technology elevate Daegu as a metropolitan cutting-edge city. Blessed with the most excellent level of sports and convention infrastructure, it has hosted major sporting events in the past. Its Convention Hall spanning 3,872 sq, m, with specialised lighting, sound system, six language simultaneous translation system, up to date video conference facilities and A/V facilities etc., can accommodate up to 4,200 people.

Tapping onto Korea’s rich experiences, the city of Daegu has delivered the best ever World Championships in the history of IAAF. Although her overall athletic performance falls short of world-class level, the nation excels in the Marathon. This is evident in the number of medals Korean marathoners have won and the sheer size of the millions of Korean amateur marathoners who run on a regular basis.

A special media village within the ‘Athletes Village’ provides easy access to the activities being just ten minutes drive away from the Daegu Stadium. The first blue coloured track in Korea is the most updated of its kind in the world which is guaranteed to provide maximum elasticity for the athletes, thereby contributing a greater enhanced performance.

Marketing

One year prior to the grand finale, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) launched its ticket sales to the public in downtown Daegu. The LOC developed a variety of attractive discounts on ticket purchases early – e.g. 10 percent discount on tickets purchased before March 31, 2011. As an added incentive LOC is offering an exclusive four-day, three-night tour package for two to the city of Daegu with roundtrip air tickets and accommodation in top of the range star class hotels.

Ticket prices range between KRW 20,000 (approximately USD 20) for the uppermost-level seats and KRW 150,000 (approximately USD 150) for the premier seats closest to the ‘Finish Line’.

The logo of the IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011 features the new IAAF competition insignia and the LOC’s local element.

It is a perfect amalgamation of the Oriental Yin-Yang philosophy and represents the harmony between East and West. The swirling arrows of the local element capture the energy of the wind and the colours represent the vibrancy of the ‘Colourful Daegu’ brand.

The natural, yet energetic Oriental-style calligraphic stroke of an athlete crossing the ‘Finish Line’ embodies Daegu’s passion and vision to stride ahead of the competition.

Korea is internationally recognized for its success in staging major sporting events, including the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, the 4th IAAF World Junior Championships (Seoul) 1992, two Asian Games, the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and the 2003 Summer Universiade. With the hosting of the IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011, Korea will earn the honour of having hosted the triple crown of the three most prestigious sporting events – the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup and the IAAF World Championships.

Doo Won Lee assures full cooperation and willingness to part with their knowledge and know-how to help Sri Lanka with Korea’s bags of experience in this area in the past, should there be a beckoning call for any assistance or advice.

In the words of Hambantota 2018 Organising Committee Co-Chair Ajith Nivard Cabraal, “Sri Lanka’s bid can be the catalyst for bringing the prestigious event back to the Caribbean for the first time in over half a century.”

Hambantota which is currently undergoing a major development programme is said to be almost equal to all investment zones in the country put together. If on 11 November 2011, at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) general assembly in St. Kitts and Nevis, members of the Commonwealth were to decide Hambantota as the host city for Commonwealth Games, then Sri Lanka will become the 10th country to host the games in its 80-year history.

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