The 26th General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) kicked off Tuesday at the COEX Convention Center in southern Seoul and will run through Friday.
The ANOC meeting is sometimes referred to as the United Nations General Assembly of the sports world.
Including President Thomas Bach of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who now serves as chair of the IOC Ethics Commission, some 1,300 officials from 206 countries are attending the event. On Monday, Bach and other international sports figures had dinner at the presidential office in Yongsan at the invitation of President Yoon Suk-yeol.
This is the third time the ANOC meeting is taking place in Seoul, after the city previously hosted the fifth edition in 1986 and the 15th in 2006.
This year’s ANOC General Assembly will discuss the future of global sports following Covid-19.
“The ANOC meeting will be an opportunity for Seoul to take its first step toward becoming a global sports city,” said Choi Kyeng-ju, Director General of the Tourism and Sports Bureau for the city of Seoul.
After an ANOC executive council meeting on Tuesday, a plenary session of the general assembly will be held from Wednesday to Thursday. An ANOC Workshop will take place Friday to discuss issues in the international world of sports.
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon will host a dinner at the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, on the second day of the general assembly on Thursday for key figures including Bach, Ban and Robin Mitchell, Acting ANOC President. At the dinner, Oh plans to introduce the Jamsil Sports MICE Complex that is under construction, which is to be a main venue for international sports events in Seoul.
In September 2018, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to bid to co-host the 2032 Summer Olympic Games. But Brisbane was tapped as the host city last year.
Along with uncertainties over co-hosting with North Korea, the city believes public opinion wasn’t strong for the 2032 bid.
But the city found that seven out of ten Seoul residents, or 72.8 percent, approved of the idea of hosting the 2036 Olympics in the capital, according to a survey of 1,000 Seoul residents conducted in September.
Six countries have hosted the summer games twice or more, including the United States (five times); Britain, France, and Australia (three times); Greece and Japan (twice).
“Given that a second [Summer] Olympics, on average, are held in the same country after 50 years, the year 2036 is a suitable period for the city to hold the Olympics, 48 years after the 1988 Seoul Olympics,” the city government said.
The city believes the cost of the event will be from 5.5 trillion won based on the 1996 Atlanta Olympics to 68 trillion won based on the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
It said it will use the Jamsil Sports MICE Complex, a renovated Seoul Olympic Stadium, as well as sports facilities in nearby Gyeonggi and Incheon, and some owned by universities and the private sector.
“As for now, Seoul is seeking a solo bid for the Olympics,” said Choi of the city’s Tourism and Sports Bureau.
“If the circumstances allow, we will push forward with co-hosting between South and North Korea,” he added.
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