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Chung s upset over Djokovic raises tennis profile in South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — It took something unique to make tennis the center of sports attention in South Korea, where the Winter Olympics are only weeks away fro.....»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarJan 23rd, 2018

Hyeon Chung’s profile on rise with Aussie Open breakthrough

MELBOURNE, Australia --- Hyeon Chung wasn't on Twitter before he began his historic run at the Australian Open, becoming the first Korean player, male or female, to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam. Now, thanks to a breakout performance at Melbourne Park that has included a win over childhood idol and six-time champion Novak Djokovic, he's achieving the kind of instant celebrity in South Korea usually reserved for K-Pop stars. Chung has only tweeted four times since setting up the account on Wednesday, but had more than 11,000 followers within 24 hours. And counting. "From what I've heard, it's blowing up in Korea pretty big," Chung's coach, Neville Godwin, said Thursda...Keep on reading: Hyeon Chung’s profile on rise with Aussie Open breakthrough.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 25th, 2018

Mental battle key to Djokovic comeback, says former coach

Former world number one Novak Djokovic's toughest hurdle when he returns to the ATP Tour after a long injury absence will be a mental one, believes former coach Boris Becker. The 30-year-old Serbian's return to competitive action is yet to be confirmed although he published photos of himself on the practice courts earlier this week for the first time since he underwent a minor "medical intervention" following a fourth round exit at the Australian Open. The 12-time Grand Slam winner struggled through his defeat by Chung Hyeon of South Korea, troubled still by a persistent elbow injury, that had seen him off the circuit since Wimbledon last year, and a hip problem. Becker, w...Keep on reading: Mental battle key to Djokovic comeback, says former coach.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2018

North Korea preps nuclear site demolition despite U.S. summit doubts

SEOUL, South Korea – Invited foreign journalists gathered in North Korea Wednesday, May 23, to witness the slated destruction of the reclusive regime's nuclear test site, a high profile gesture on the road to a summit with the US that Donald Trump now says might not happen. In a surprise announcement ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2018

S.korea’s Presidential Security Advisor Visits U.S. Ahead of DPRK-U.S. Summit

Chung Eui-yong, top national security advisor for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, is currently staying in the United States ahead of the summit between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), local media reported Friday citing the Blue House of South Korea. An unidentified Blue House official told local reporters that […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsMay 4th, 2018

2018 WORLD CUP: Sweden not defined by just Zlatan

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press Sweden has shed its major distraction: Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn't coming back for the World Cup. The Los Angeles striker, who retired from international duty in 2016 after scoring a record 62 goals in 116 games, will be a spectator from California when Sweden heads to Russia. The Swedes have moved on from the 36-year-old Ibrahimovic. Playing more as a team, they are a tighter and more efficient unit — as shown when they kept two clean sheets against Italy to advance to the World Cup via the playoffs. They beat France in their qualifying group and were undefeated at home. From having a lineup defined by one player, Sweden is now a team without superstars. Here's a closer look at the Sweden team: COACH Janne Andersson took charge after the European Championship in 2016 as the replacement for Eric Hamren, following a coaching career based solely with Swedish clubs. The highlight was leading Norrkoping to the Swedish league title in 2015. The 55-year-old Andersson values organization above everything and has made the national team defensively strong and a force on the counterattack. GOALKEEPERS Robin Olsen has established himself as the starting goalkeeper heading into the World Cup, having opted to play for Sweden over Denmark — where his parents were born. He is tall and lean, standing at 6-feet-6 (1.98 meters). DEFENDERS Ibrahimovic's decade-long reign as Sweden's player of the year ended last year when national team captain Andreas Granqvist won the "Golden Ball" award for the first time. Those who voted for Granqvist might have been influenced by the center back's stoic display in the two-legged playoff victory over Italy, which earned him a last chance to play at a World Cup. At 33, he is the experienced organizer of the defense — alongside the more youthful Victor Lindelof of Manchester United — and plays for Russian club Krasnodar, where the Swedes will be based for the tournament. MIDFIELDERS Emil Forsberg, a quick attacking midfielder who usually starts on the left wing, is the team's standout player and has become a big name in the German league because of his form for Leipzig. He had the most assists in the Bundesliga last season. A relatively late developer, he only made his international debut at the age of 23 so has experience of just one major senior tournament. Sebastian Larsson is the other high-profile player in the midfield, having played for the national team for a decade and in the Premier League with Birmingham and Sunderland after starting his professional career at Arsenal. FORWARDS Marcus Berg leads the forward line in the absence of Ibrahimovic and scored eight goals in qualifying. He remains key to Sweden's plans despite being out of the limelight, at least to European audiences, following his decision to join Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates from Greek team Panathinaikos in the 2017 offseason. He is top scorer in the Arabian Gulf League, showing he is in prime form heading to Russia. Ola Toivonen plays just off Berg and scored Sweden's best goal in qualifying, an effort from near halfway to beat France 2-1. GROUP GAMES Sweden opens Group F against South Korea on June 18. The team will then face Germany on June 23 and finish the group stage against Mexico on June 27......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 30th, 2018

Kim Jong-un deeply moved by K-pop concert – KCNA

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un smiled, clapped and said he was "deeply moved" by a rare performance by South Korean K-pop stars in Pyongyang, state media reported Monday, April 2. The high profile appearance of Kim and his wife, former singer Ri Sol Ju, at the ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 2nd, 2018

Isner an easy winner, returns to Miami Open semifinals

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. --- Nothing was coming easily to John Isner over the first three months of this year, and he was essentially a nonfactor in every tournament he entered. Until now. The big-serving American is in the semifinals of the Miami Open for the second time in the past four years, after overpowering South Korea's Hyeon Chung 6-1, 6-4 in just over an hour on Wednesday afternoon. The 14th-seeded Isner finished with 13 aces, won all but one of his 32 first-serve points and avenged a loss to the 19th-seeded Chung at Auckland in his first match of the year back in January. "I played extremely well," said Isner, who dropped six of his first eight matches of 2018 before...Keep on reading: Isner an easy winner, returns to Miami Open semifinals.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

Venus, Halep win, Wozniacki upset at Indian Wells

By Beth Harris, Associated Press INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Venus Williams defeated Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 7-6 (8), 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday as the oldest woman in the draw. The 37-year-old American was coming off a straight-set victory over younger sister Serena a night earlier, ending a three-match skid against her sibling. "It was a quick turnaround from last night when it feels like, 'Hey, this is a final to you're only in the fourth round,'" Williams said on court. Playing under cloudy skies in 80-degree heat, Williams had her hands full with Sevastova, who used drop shots, top spin, lobs and jerked her 10-years-older opponent side to side. "There were some points where she just played and it was too good," Williams said. "I thought I was in control of the point and winning the point, and she turned it around. It's just real talent." After early losses in her first two tournaments of the year, Williams hasn't dropped a set at Indian Wells, where she has yet to reach the final in six previous appearances. Awaiting Williams in the quarterfinals is 27th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, who beat American wild card Danielle Collins 6-2, 6-4. Simona Halep is on track to retain her No. 1 world ranking after defeating Wang Qiang of China 7-5, 6-1 in the fourth round. Halep is the only former Indian Wells winner left in the women's draw after No. 20 Daria Kasatkina upset No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 7-5. Wozniacki blew a 3-0 lead in the first set and was on the run most of the match before losing for the second time this year to the 20-year-old Russian. "She outsmarted me," Wozniacki said. By reaching the quarterfinals, Kasatkina is projected to surpass her career-best ranking of 17th. She has beaten all four current Grand Slam titleholders in the past year, including U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens in straight sets this week. "I'm playing best matches against the best players," Kasatkina said. "But as I say, if you want to be on the top, you have to beat the top players. So quite simple rule." Halep improved to 17-1 this year and needs only to reach the final to stay at the top. Next up for Halep is Petra Martic of Croatia, who beat Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-6 (4). American teenager Amanda Anisimova's run of success ended in a 6-1, 7-6 (2) loss to No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic. Anisimova, a 16-year-old wild card, won her first three WTA Tour matches at Indian Wells, beating Pauline Parmentier, No. 23 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova without dropping a set. "She's 16, so she's not scared," Pliskova said of Anisimova. "You can see she's hitting the ball without thinking. But everybody is playing like this when they are 16. I think this will change a little bit in the future, but for sure the game is good and not really any weakness. I think everything is pretty solid." Pliskova faces a quarterfinal against Naomi Osaka, who beat Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 5-7, 6-1. Halep attended Venus Williams' straight-set victory over 36-year-old sister and new mother Serena on Monday night. "I love the way that they are motivated and they are still playing at this age, Serena with the kid," Halep said. "It's a great thing what they do for sport, and it's great that tennis has them. I have many things to learn from them. That's why I'm trying just to go in to watch every time I can." On the men's side, Gael Monfils retired in the second set with a back injury trailing fellow Frenchman Pierre-Hughes Herbert 6-2, 3-1. Monfils used an eight-minute injury timeout in the second set to get his back worked on before returning to the court and getting broken in fourth game. He then walked to the net and ended the match. Herbert moved on to a fourth-round matchup with Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, who upset No. 2 seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4. Cilic won 19 of 23 points on his first serve, but failed to convert four break points against 31st-seeded Kohlschreiber, who snapped a 12-match skid against top-10 opponents. Herbert remains in contention for the $1 million bonus offered to a player who sweeps the singles and doubles titles. No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina defeated No. 29 David Ferrer of Spain 6-4, 7-6 (3) for the fifth straight time. With Cilic, Ferrer, Novak Djokovic, Monfils and John Isner all eliminated from his quarter of the draw, things are looking wide open for del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion. Top-ranked Roger Federer and del Potro are the highest seeds remaining. "I'm not thinking about that. I just want to keep winning," del Potro said. "Still far away from the final, but of course, any chance to play with Roger would be great." Del Potro's countryman, Leonardo Mayer, beat Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-1. Mayer next plays del Potro. No. 18 Sam Querrey rallied past Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-4 and will play No. 28 Feliciano Lopez of Spain. He spoiled a potential all-American quarterfinal by beating No. 8 Jack Sock 7-6 (8), 4-6, 6-4. No. 32 Milos Raonic of Canada defeated Joao Sousa of Portugal 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 and will meet Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, who beat lucky loser Dudi Sela of Israel 7-6 (7), 6-4......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 14th, 2018

Trump and Kim to hold historic meeting

WASHINGTON DC, USA (UPDATED) – President Donald Trump agreed Thursday, March 8, to a historic first meeting with Kim Jong-Un in a stunning development in America's high-stakes nuclear standoff with North Korea.Standing in front of the White House, South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong earlier announced ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 9th, 2018

Federer hails Chung as future top 10 player

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Roger Federer hailed Chung Hyeon as a future top 10 player Friday after the South Korean's Australian Open came to a painful end at the hands of the Swiss maestro. The defending champion was leading 6-1, 5-2 and in full control when Chung retired with foot blisters, bringing the curtain down on a breakout tournament in which he announced himself as a future star in the making. The 21-year-old sent 12-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic packing in the fourth round, although the Serb was carrying an injury and not at his best. But he also accounted for fourth seed Alexander Zverev in his best Grand Slam showing so far. In 20 years at the top, Feder...Keep on reading: Federer hails Chung as future top 10 player.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 27th, 2018

Cilic joins elite group by reaching Australian Open final

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Marin Cilic has joined an elite group at the season-opening Grand Slam, becoming just the second man outside the so-called Big Four to reach the Australian Open final in a decade. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have dominated the finals here since 2009, with only 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka breaking the quartet's court occupation in the men's championship match. After his 6-2, 7-6 (4), 6-2 semifinal win over No. 49-ranked Kyle Edmund, Cilic could face one of the Big Four on Sunday night. That's if defending champion Roger Federer can get past Hyeon Chung on Friday night. "Now I have two days off — it's going to be a nice one on Sunday," he said. Cilic lost to Federer in last year's Wimbledon final, but beat the Swiss star on the way to his own Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open in 2014. The 29-year-old Cilic was under pressure early against Edmund and had to fend off break points in the opening game. He held and quickly got on top in the first set and, after maintaining his composure in a nervy second set tiebreaker, quickly established a break in the third set against the tiring British player. "I think in that second set, I was just a little up and down with my game. I wasn't getting enough returns back to put pressure on him in his service games," Cilic said. "I noticed that in the third game in third set, when I broke him, he just let a couple balls go past him. ... I was seeing with this movement he was a little bit restricted so I just tried to move the ball around." Cilic didn't face another break point after the opening game and took advantage of his experience, while Edmund got heated in his first major semifinal, arguing with the chair umpire over a call in the fifth game of the second set and demanding the tournament supervisor come onto court to explain the ruling. Wins over U.S. Open runner-up Kevin Anderson in the first round and in the quarterfinal over No. 3-seeded Grigor Dimitrov took a toll on Edmund, but Cilic praised him for a breakthrough major. "He's playing great tennis, last couple years he improved a lot." Cilic said. "He had an extremely tough run to the semis, couple five setters and four setters, as well. Definitely it left some scars on his body. I can feel that, too." It took Cilic 10 attempts to reach the final in Australia, equaling an Open era record held by Kim Wawrick. He lost a semifinal in 2010 to Murray, and said he benefited from the experience......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 25th, 2018

Novak Djokovic out of Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Six-time champion Novak Djokovic is out of the Australian Open, beaten 7-6 (4), 7-5, 7-6 (3) in the fourth round by Hyeon Chung, a 21-year-old South Korean ranked 58th. The point of the match came in the third-set tiebreaker when Chung hit a cross-court passing shot to put him within two points of victory. It ended minutes later when Djokovic hit a backhand wide. Djokovic, who trailed the first set 4-1 but fought back to 5-5 before losing the tiebreaker, took a medical timeout to have his right arm massaged before the start of the second set. He spent six months off the tour last year with a right elbow injury and said he waited until just before the tournament began to decide if he was fit enough to play. Chung will now play another relatively unknown player in the quarterfinals — Tennys Sandgren, a 97th-ranked American who beat No. 5-seeded Dominic Thiem earlier Monday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2018

Chung sends Zverev crashing out of Open

MELBOURNE, Australia – Chung Hyeon became the first South Korean man ever to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open with a 5-set upset win over 4th seed Alexander Zverev on Saturday, January 20. The 58th-ranked Chung beat a top-5 ranked opponent for the first time with his 5-7, ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 20th, 2018

Horn wants to show Pacquiao win was no fluke

By John Pye, Associated Press BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Jeff Horn's reward for a successful first title defense since a contentious win over Manny Pacquiao could be a bout with Terence Crawford. A failure could send him back into boxing obscurity. Horn wants to use his WBO welterweight title defense against Gary Corcoran on Wednesday to dispel any notion that he got a hometown decision against Pacquiao in Brisbane last July. If he gets his way, it could set him up for a big 2018. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum attended Tuesday's weigh-in and said a win here "will lead to massive fights coming next year." "I think Pacquiao is going to return to the ring. Terence Crawford will be the mandatory for this fight. The biggest building in Las Vegas is on hold for this fight," Arum said. "Going to have a tremendous year in the welterweight division and these two participants ... will be giving it their all to see who will go ahead as part of these major programs that will take place next year." Horn, now unbeaten in 18 bouts, knows what it's like to be given no chance of beating the champion, so he is trying to think only about Corcoran at the Brisbane Convention Centre. That's not far from where he beat Pacquiao in front of more than 51,000 fans in an outdoor bout at a regular rugby venue. "I've got until after this fight to start having discussions," he said. "He's definitely a possibility if I can manage to get through Gary first." The Australian former schoolteacher was written off before taking on Pacquiao (59-7-2), but pressured the eight-division champion for 12 rounds in an upset that changed the trajectory of his career. Pacquiao's camp disputed the unanimous decision, which was widely panned by critics but later confirmed after further scrutiny by the World Boxing Organization. Pacquiao had a rematch clause for the Horn fight, but so far hasn't committed to a date or venue. Corcoran is 17-1 since turning pro in 2011 and is ranked 10th by the WBO. He is the underdog and is fighting outside of Britain and Ireland for the first time for his first world title. Trainer Peter Stanley said his boxer would not be intimidated by the situation. "We've fought away from home before in front of bigger, more hostile crowds against bigger boys," Stanley said. "There's nothing new here." The buildup to the fight has been overshadowed by accusations from the Corcoran camp that Horn resorted to head-butting Pacquiao, and claims from the British-based boxer that he would resort to biting if confronted with the same circumstances. At the official news conference, one of Corcoran's trainers held up a laptop computer to show images of Horn clashing heads with opponents and later wore a cap with a glove attached at the top in a swipe at the head-butting claims. Horn and his trainer Glenn Rushton responded by wearing caps with a pair of boxing gloves on top of earmuffs to protect from biting. Both boxers were expecting an aggressive, walk-up style of fight. Rushton said Horn would be furious but fair. "It is boxing. It's not table tennis — it's tough," Rushton said. "Stop (complaining) — Jeff's one of the fairest fighters in the world." Corcoran doesn't have a high profile, and even ring announcer Michael Buffer mistakenly called him by the wrong name at the weigh-in. "Does it matter?" Stanley said. "He'll know his name afterward, I promise you that — he won't forget it. "Gary's a consummate pro. He's come here to fight and win. They both made weight, they're both fit. The only difference is Jeff's got the world title and Gary wants it.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 12th, 2017

NKorean missile frustrates SKorean Olympic preparations

By Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Just when South Korea thought it was finally creating a buzz for February's Winter Olympics, North Korea fired its most powerful missile yet and re-ignited safety worries about the small mountain town that will host the games not far from the rivals' anxious border. The Pyeongchang Olympics probably aren't in jeopardy because of Wednesday's launch for a number of reasons, including that the North is unlikely to attack the more powerful, U.S.-backed South. Despite its belligerent neighbor, South Korea is also one of the safest places in the world with a wealth of experience hosting international sporting events. Still, the launch, which followed a 10-week lull, was a frustrating development for Pyeongchang's organizers, who have only recently got on track after facing construction delays, controversies over cost overruns and wary sponsors. They can also do little to calm international fears created by North Korea's accelerating nuclear weapons and missile tests. Shortly after North Korea fired the Hwasong-15 into the sea Wednesday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened a national security meeting where he ordered government officials to closely review whether the launch could hurt South Korea's efforts to successfully host the Olympics, which begin on Feb. 9. South Korea wants more than a million spectators for the Olympics, which will be held just 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the border, and expects 30 percent of them to be foreign visitors. Organizers have struggled for months to spark enthusiasm for the games locally, where the national conversation over the past year have been dominated by a massive a massive corruption scandal that toppled and jailed the last president and North Korea's flurry of weapons tests. Sung Baikyou, an official from Pyeongchang's organizing committee, on Thursday downplayed worries that North Korea would scare away athletes and visitors to Pyeongchang. Organizers and government officials have held briefings and site inspections for Olympics officials, members and sponsors to reassure them of South Korea's security readiness. The 92 nations that have so far registered to participate in the Pyeongchang Games represent the largest ever Winter Olympics field. And after a slow start, organizers had managed to sell more than half of the available tickets by the end of November. Sung said there hasn't been any talk with the International Olympic Committee about moving or canceling the games. "It wouldn't make sense for anyone to cancel tickets to Pyeongchang because of fears about North Korea," Sung said. "There's no war; bombs aren't being dropped on Pyeongchang." Hyun Jae-gyung, an official from Gangwon province, which governs Pyeongchang and nearby Gangneung, a coastal city that will host the skating and hockey events during the Olympics, said cancelations at hotels and other accommodation facilities in the areas have been few and sporadic and unlikely linked to security concerns. But there's nothing organizers can do if North Korea raises fears even higher with more tests. North Korea has conducted 20 ballistic missile launches just this year, and the tests are becoming increasingly aggressive; some in the South fear that Washington might consider a pre-emptive strike on the North as the intercontinental ballistic missile tested Wednesday may be able to reach anywhere in the continental United States. Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a security adviser to South Korea's presidential office, thinks it's highly unlikely that the North will do any significant weapons tests or other aggressive acts that would disrupt the Olympics. After Hwasong-15's successful flight test, delighted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared that the country has "realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force." Many experts, including Koh, believe that this suggests the country could soon consider its nuclear program as "enough" and shift the focus to its dismal economy. It would do nothing for heavily-sanctioned Pyongyang to worsen its awful reputation by creating trouble during the Olympics, Koh said. In recent government statements, including the one announced after Wednesday's missile test, North Korea has repeatedly claimed itself as a "responsible" and "peace-loving" nation, something it has been emphasizing since the United States relisted the country as a state terror sponsor, Koh said. "Even if they do conduct a missile or nuclear test during the Olympics, the games will go on as tests don't start wars. But I think there's almost no possibility that they will," said Koh. "If anything, they might have pushed hard to get their tests done before the start of the Olympics." It would help ease worries if North Korea participates in the Pyeongchang Games. While a North Korean figure skating pair qualified for the Olympics in September, it's unclear whether the North will let them compete in the South. North Korea boycotted the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea's capital Seoul and has ignored the South's proposals for dialogue in recent months. Securing North Korea's commitment to attend the Pyeongchang Games will be a critical topic at the IOC's next executive board meeting in December, which will be the last one before the start of the Olympics. The IOC has already offered to pay the costs should North Korea decide to participate, and Pyeongchang officials have been talking about granting special entries for North Korean athletes in some ice sports. Kim Kyung-hyup, a lawmaker for South Korea's ruling party, said Thursday that Seoul should consider sending a special envoy to the North to persuade it to participate in the Pyeongchang Games. Other than hoping that North Korea accepts the invitation, organizers are stuck. "If there's any other solution, tell me," Sung said. "It's not like we can jump up and catch North Korean missiles with a net.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 1st, 2017

Tale of 2 cities: Olympics sponsors in Pyeongchang and Tokyo

em>By Youkyung Lee and Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press /em> SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Winter Olympics coming to South Korea in February offer an example of the Olympian efforts often required to meet corporate sponsorship goals. Tokyo tells a different story: The coffers are already overflowing for the 2020 Summer Games. It's a tale of two cities and two Olympics — winter and summer. Pyeongchang is a little-known destination in one of South Korea's poorest provinces. It is the 'little town that could,' bidding twice unsuccessfully for the Winter Olympics before winning on its third try. A final push enabled it to reach its sponsorship target of 940 billion won ($830 million) in September, with just five months to go. Tokyo is an established global capital, and the Summer Games usually generate more excitement — and more money. Organizers have raised 300 billion yen ($2.7 billion) in sponsorship, twice any previous Olympics. International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates describes it as a remarkable achievement. The divergent experiences of two Asian host cities illustrate the challenges that smaller bidders face, as well as South Korea's dependence on the big family-owned companies that dominate its economy. Not that Tokyo is home-free. The cost of the 2020 Games has nearly doubled from initial projections. As with most Olympics, taxpayers will have to foot a good part of the bill. ___ strong>WHERE 'CHAEBOLS' RULE /strong> Starting with the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea has used mega-events such as the soccer World Cup to raise the profile of the country and its manufacturing exporters. Pyeongchang is different. The project was initiated by local politicians in an area long alienated politically and economically in South Korea's rise to prosperity. Some feared people would confuse the city's name with Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. They couldn't count on the automatic support of the huge family-run conglomerates, known as 'chaebol,' such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG. 'When such mega-events were the nation-state's key project, the chaebol were called on and were expected to become the leading participants,' said Joo Yu-min, a professor at the National University of Singapore who co-authored a book on South Korea's use of mega-events. In the end, the national government brought the conglomerates in, first in the bid process, and then for sponsorship. That underscores both the outsized role they play in the economy and their close ties with government. They owe a debt to special treatment from the government, which in turn used them to industrialize the country after the devastating 1950-53 Korean War. After Pyeongchang's bid was rejected a second time, the government called on Samsung and others to help. The president even pardoned Lee Kun-hee, the patriarch of the Samsung founding family who had been an IOC member but voluntarily suspended his membership after being indicted for tax evasion. The IOC reinstated Lee in 2010 with a reprimand and some restrictions, allowing him to lobby heavily for what became Pyeongchang's winning bid in 2011. It took three years for the organizing committee to sign its first domestic sponsor, KT Corp., the country's second-largest mobile carrier. Again, the national government asked the conglomerates for help. All the major ones signed on, after the office of then-President Park Geun-hye made a special request and multichannel pressures for financial assistance, Joo said. Elsewhere, companies may weigh sponsorship decisions based more on the marketing benefits. 'In South Korea, companies make donations out of a sense of duty that they are being part of the national event,' said Park Dong Min, the executive director overseeing membership at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Sponsors who signed up late weren't willing to give as much, because there was less time to enjoy the marketing benefits. A bank that signed on less than a year before the Games significantly reduced its sponsorship. To top it off, a massive sports-related political corruption scandal rocked South Korea in 2016, just when Pyeongchang was making last-ditch efforts to raise sponsorship. 'Companies showed some reluctance' to sponsor the Olympics, said Eom Chanwang, director of the Pyeongchang organizing committee marketing team. 'Nevertheless, they still joined.' The scandal brought down Park, the president. Lee Jae-yong, the heir to the Samsung group, received a five-year sentence for bribery. Lee, who has appealed, had become de facto chief of the Samsung group after his father Lee Kun-hee, the IOC member pardoned in late 2009, fell ill. It was the younger Lee who signed an agreement with IOC President Thomas Bach to extend Samsung Electronics' sponsorship of the Olympics globally through 2020. Samsung declined interviews for this story. With the scandal still fresh in people's minds, major companies have held back from launching full-fledged marketing to promote the Games. 'Samsung traditionally has done consumer marketing through the Olympics, but because its chief is in jail, it cannot do as much these days,' said Kim Do-kyun, a sports professor at Kyung Hee University Graduate School of Physical Education. The Pyeongchang Games were the biggest victim of the scandal, he said. ___ strong>SUMMER OF '64 /strong> The president of Japan's biggest toilet manufacturer was seven years old when the Olympics first came to Japan. TOTO Ltd. made news in 1964 for its prefabricated toilet-and-bath units that helped speed the construction of a luxury hotel, the New Otani, in time for the Games. The company, now known for high-tech toilets that baffle some foreign visitors, is back as a sponsor of Tokyo 2020. 'I feel our company and the Olympics have been bonded by fate,' TOTO president Madoka Kitamura said at a sponsorship signing ceremony at the same hotel last year. The $2.7 billion in sponsorship for Tokyo 2020 is more than three times the original estimate. By comparison, sponsorship revenue was $848 million in Rio de Janeiro last year, and about $1.2 billion for both London 2012 and Beijing 2008. The Winter Olympics typically attract less, though Sochi, Russia, raised $1.2 billion in 2014. Analysts attribute Tokyo's success to both patriotism and a sense of nostalgia for the 1964 Summer Games. They were much more than a sports contest for Japan. They were a moment of pride, marking the country's return as an industrial power after the devastation of World War II and a seven-year U.S. occupation. 'All of Japan still recognizes the unique role that the 1964 Olympics played in Japan's stepping out onto the world stage,' said Michael Payne, a former IOC marketing director who now works as a consultant. 'Many of the CEOs of top Japanese companies would have been young kids back in '64 and are very aware of the role those Games played for the psychological recovery from the Second World War.' They grew up with the high-speed 'Shinkansen' bullet train, inaugurated in 1964; modern expressways and western-style toilets, all symbols of Japan's postwar economic growth. 'Now they have become business leaders, they want to contribute and leave something behind that can be remembered for the next 50 years,' said Masahiko Sakamaki, executive director of marketing for the Tokyo organizing committee. He said that memories of the recovery may have boosted interest in sponsorship, as Japan was still reeling from a deadly 2011 earthquake and tsunami when Tokyo won the bid in 2013. Sakamaki said the organizing committee started receiving sponsorship inquiries as soon as it was established in 2014, before the official start of sponsorship contracts in 2015. There is so much interest that the IOC is allowing Tokyo to have multiple sponsors in some categories, instead of the usual one, including in aviation, newspaper publishing, electronics and banking. TOTO officials won't say how much they are contributing, but media reports say companies in its sponsorship category give between 6 billion and 15 billion yen ($53 million to $133.5 million). Tokyo 2020 wouldn't comment on those reports. 'We believe our presence as part of an all-Japan effort toward a successful Olympics will enhance our favorable brand image,' said Mariko Shibasaki, the company's senior planner for sports communication. Thanks in part to robust sponsorship revenue, the organizing committee has increased its contribution to the cost of the games from 500 billion to 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion). The sponsorship revenue makes up half of the income in the privately-run organizing committee's operating budget. Other revenue comes from the International Olympic Committee, marketing and ticket sales. The overall cost of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated at 1.4 trillion yen (12.4 billion) with the Tokyo government shouldering 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion) and the remaining 200 billion yen (1.8 billion) paid by the national government and local governments hosting events. ___ em>Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writer Stephen Wade in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this story. /em> .....»»

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