Opening new horizons

In February 2018, Korea will host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeong Chang, a beautiful winter city located in a mountainous region Northeast of Korea.

It will be the biggest Olympic Winter Games yet with over 100 gold medals and six new programs on offer and the greatest number of women’s and mixed events in the history of Olympic Winter Games. Over fifty thousand people will participate in the event as athletes, officials and media personnel. The Pyeong Chang Olympics will kick off a series of Olympic Games in Asia. We will pass on the baton to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and then to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and hopefully these events will become a platform to further promote peace and cooperation.

The Seoul Summer Games were held in 1988, an event that remains to this day a proud memory in the minds of the Korean people. Ravaged by the Korean War Korea was long dependent on foreign aid - in the 1960s the per capita GDP was less than 100 USD. The Seoul Summer Olympic Games showcased Korea’s rapid economic growth that transformed a war-torn country into a vibrant, modern nation. It changed the image of Korea and gave the Korean people the confidence to meet other challenges in the future. The 1988 Seoul Games was also meaningful in that the event brought together both sides of the Cold War in the Olympic spirit of sportsmanship and peace. And our government is exerting great efforts to make Pyeong Chang Olympic Games a ‘Games of Peace’ which will ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and create a favorable environment for inter-Korean dialogue, exchange and cooperation.

Pyeong Chang Olympics is another platform to further enhance the already close Korea-Nepal ties. Pyeong Chang has hosted ‘The Dream Program’, an annual winter sports training camp for international youths since 2004. Over 1,500 youths from 75 countries, including many from Nepal have participated in the camp and incredibly, 166 of those youths have gone on to compete in international winter sporting events. To support Nepal further during the Pyeong Chang Olympic Games, KOSEP has contributed NPR 1,000,000 to support Nepali athletes competing in Alpine and Cross-Country ski events.

We hope our friends in Nepal will look forward to the Pyeong Chang Olympics Games and come together with enthusiasts from all over the world to enjoy the passion, excitement and beauty of the Winter Games.

The writer is Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nepal