IOC completes final venue inspection for Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics

SEOUL, Jan 15: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has completed its final check of competition venues and other facilities for the fourth Winter Youth Olympics opening in South Korea this week, the event’s officials said Monday.

The organising committee of the Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics said IOC officials, together with Gangwon representatives, toured nine competition venues, the athlete’s village and sites for cultural festivals from Jan 10 to 14, Yonhap news agency reported.

The venue walkthrough was organised to allow the IOC to conduct its final check on Gangwon’s preparation for the competition, which opens Friday and wraps up on Feb 1.

Gangwon officials briefed IOC leaders, including Christophe Dubi, executive director of the Olympic Games, on issues including game operations, transportation, parking and catering.IOC President Thomas Bach is scheduled to visit Gangwon on Wednesday.

Gangwon Province, on the eastern part of South Korea, is the first non-European host of the Winter Youth Olympics, with Austria, Norway and Switzerland having held the first three editions. Many of the venues for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics will be used during the youth competition, including ski jumping and biathlon venues in PyeongChang, some 130 kilometers east of Seoul, and all ice venues in Gangneung, about 30 kilometers east of PyeongChang.

This will be the largest Winter Youth Olympics, with 1,803 athletes representing 79 nations. They will be competing in 81 events across seven sports and 15 disciplines.

Though medals will be awarded, there will be no official medal race, as the focus of the competition is on education, cultural exchange and friendship.

 Organisers said on Friday that over 320,000 tickets had been snatched up.