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Preparations in full swing for Incheon Asian Games

With about five months to go before the start of the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, preparations are in full swing for the mega sports international event.

INCHEON: With about five months to go before the start of the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, preparations are in full swing for the mega sports international event.

This is the second time that the event is being held in South Korea.

Bringing all 45 Asian nations closer together.

That is what Kim Young Soo, the President of the Incheon Asian Games Organising Committee, is confident of achieving .

He even envisions supporters cheering on all Asian competitors taking part, and not just those from Korea.

Mr Kim said: "What I mean is fairness, not just in running the sporting events but going beyond that. These days people cheer only for athletes from their own countries. I want to break away from this traditional cheer culture. We are training a lot of supporters right now so they can cheer for players from other countries too and overcome any racial difference."

It will be an Asian celebration through sport.

Mr Kim said it is important that everyone leaves the Incheon Games with more than just the memories of sporting excellence.

"What we consider a success is if spectators take back with them the sensational memories of the harmony and consideration felt during the games," he said.

The finishing touches are being made in Incheon -- where the games will be held for 16 days beginning on September 19 with the opening ceremony.

Some 13,000 athletes and officials will take part in 36 sports.

Of the 49 competition venues, 23 news stadiums have been built.

Construction of the main stadium is expected to be completed by early May.

It will have a capacity of about 61,000 seats where the opening and closing ceremony are expected to be held.

Some 7,000 media representatives are expected to converge in the city.

Organisers are also gearing up to welcome a tourist turnout of massive proportions.

Mr Kim said: "We are estimating about 200,000 visitors from overseas and together with those from home, we expect about two million people to visit Incheon City."

Safety is paramount as Mr Kim brushed aside any worries of possible terror attacks at the 17th Asiad.

Mr Kim said: "Aren't we always prepared for terrorism in our country? Because of our unique situation of being divided into South and North Korea, our security systems are of high standards and we are always on alert.

Nonetheless, with this being a mega international event, South Korea will be on a heightened security alert to ensure a successful Asian Games. 

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