Joint Korea bid for 2032 Olympics eyed: Seoul hoping to keep peace through sports, says minister

Sports | 13 Sep 2018

South Korea will sound out the North over a possible joint bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics and is also keen to advance the idea of a Northeast Asia bid to host the 2030 World Cup, Seoul's Sports minister Do Jong Hwan says.

Yonhap News reported that Do made the comments to media in Tokyo, where he is meeting with fellow Japanese and Chinese sports ministers.

Do said co-hosting a Summer Games would build on the success of this year's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, where North Korea's participation helped ease tensions on the peninsula.

"It's a proposal of hosting the events in Seoul and Pyongyang," Do said. "The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics showed the Olympic values very well. I hope peace in Northeast Asia can continue through sports."

The region is seen as a safe pair of hands to stage international events, with Tokyo (2020 Summer Games) and Beijing (2022 Winter Games) following Pyeongchang as the next hosts of the Olympics. Seoul also hosted the Summer Olympics in 1988.

South Korea and Japan co-hosted the 2002 World Cup and both have since bid separately to host the event again, but with China tipped to make a play for the 2030 tournament Do was keen to talk up a regional bid. "We heard that China is going to make a bid to host the World Cup," he said. "But we want to make a proposal of co-hosting the event with Asian neighbors like North Korea, China and Japan. In this way, we can maintain the current atmosphere of peace and can connect Northeast Asia peace with peace on the Korean Peninsula."

Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee member John Coates reveals that planning for the Tokyo 2020 Games has been made harder because of the high disaster risks in Japan, a reality hammered home by a deadly typhoon and earthquake last week.

Western Japan was hit by the strongest typhoon to strike the nation in 25 years, and then just days later by an earthquake that paralyzed the northernmost main island of Hokkaido and left roughly 40 dead. Japan also suffered through a summer of record-breaking heat and deadly, torrential rains in July that unleashed landslides and flooding.

Coates, who is chairman of the Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020, admitted that the two disasters just a week before had been a bit of a reality check about the planning difficulties for what are already extremely complex Games due to the largest number of sports and events ever. "So what happened last week and what happened in Osaka certainly have hit home to me ... about the further complexity of planning these games," Coates said, referring to a storm surge that submerged Kansai International Airport.

REUTERS

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