No show of "materialism, nationalism" in Incheon: Games chief

New Delhi: Incheon Asian Games will not compete with the big spending Guangzhou Asiad in terms of big budget but deliver an "economical and effective" multi-sporting event, its organising committee chief said Tuesday.

Kim Youngsoo, the president of Incheon Asian Games Organising Committee, said he hoped the 17th edition of the continental sporting extravaganza to be held from September 19 to October 4, could help in fulfilling the aspirations of small countries and cities to host the Asiad.

"With the previous experience of Sochi (2014 Winter Olympics), Beijing (2008 Summer Olympics) and Guangzhou (2012 Asian Games) where there were lots of materialism and nationalism on show, because of these, there is a thinking that you need a big budget to host these Games," Kim, a former minister in the Korean government said.

"We are looking at an economical and effective Games to also give hope to other small countries that they can also aspire to host these Games," he said at a press conference during the 2014 Incheon Asian Games Roadshow here.

2014 Sochi was the costliest ever Winter Olympics while 2008 Beijing and 2010 Guangzhou were the highest-spending Summer Olympic Games and Asian Games respectively.

Kim handed the certificates of appointment to Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and star archer Deepika Kumari as Incheon Asian Games Goodwill Ambassadors during the function which was also attended by Indian Olympic Association President N Ramachandran and Olympic Council of Asia Secretary General Randhir Singh. Sports Minister Jitendra Singh was invited but could not attend the function. Sports Secretary Ajit Sharan and top officials of the Sports Authority of India were also present.

Ramachandran thanked the Incheon organisers and the OCA for choosing New Delhi as the sixth and last venue of the Asian Games Roadshow. The event was to be held last year but had to be deferred as the IOA was under suspension then.

"We are privileged to host the roadshow here in Delhi and we are also going to host the Asian Games Torch Relay in August. On behalf of the Olympic family in India, we hope Incheon will host the most successful Games and we wish the organisers all the success," he said.

"I also hope that our Indian athletes will do better than the last Asian Games in Guangzhou," Ramachandran said.

Sushil and Deepika said that they were proud of being named as Goodwill Ambassadors of the Incheon Asian Games.

"I am proud of and thankful to the IOA, Incheon Asian Games organisers and the OCA for choosing as Goodwill Ambassadors," he said.

"On behalf of the Indian athletes, we hope to do our best in Incheon and perform better than the last Asian Games," Sushil added.

During the function, the Incheon Asian Games organisers donated USD 1,500 each to Pullela Gopichand Badminton Foundation and Markandeshwar Hockey Center at Shahbad to support young players of India and contribute to the development of sports in India.

Kim said New Delhi being the first host city of the Asian Games, it was befitting to hold the Roadshow here.

"We are pleased to have our last roadshow in New Delhi, the host of inaugural 1951 Asian Games and torch lighting ceremony of our Games. The goal of Incheon Games Organising Committee is to unite Asia through the common love of sport. We firmly believe that 2014 Incheon Asian Games will further cement the friendship between our two countries," he said.
"We plan to light the Asian Games flame in August in New Delhi, which hosted the first Asian Games."

Asked about the chance of North Korea sending its athletes for the Incheon Games, Kim said, "We are very positive about their participation. We will do our best to provide them (athletes from North Korea) a safe stay in our country.

Reports have said that North Korea will send its men`s and women`s football teams to the Incheon Asian Games but it is still unclear whether the country will take part in other events. South Korea has reportedly sent the North invitation to take part in the Games.

The North boycotted the 1988 Olympics and 1986 Asian Games, both hosted by Seoul, but sent athletes for the 2002 Busan Asiad.