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Pyeongchang 2018 winter bid gets govt backing

SOUTH Korea's prime minister has promised Pyeongchang the full support of the government as it attempts to land the 2018 Winter Olympics, bid organizers said today.

Pyeongchang narrowly failed in bids to host the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games and will be early favorites to make it third time lucky in the voting for 2018. "Pyeongchang is already ready to host the best Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games ever," Prime Minister Han Seung-soo, who will soon be replaced after a recent cabinet reshuffle, said in a news release.

"The Korean government will set PyeongChang's bid for the 2018 Olympics as a top national agenda and will give full support."

Pyeongchang, which named the leaders of its bid committee today, lost narrowly to Vancouver for the 2010 Games and to Russian resort of Sochi in the voting for 2014.

Organizers say Pyeonchang has invested 100 billion won (US$81.65 million) in building winter sports facilities, including a ski jump slope, biathlon and cross country skiing venues.

The names of potential bid cities must be declared to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by October 15 and China's Harbin, Munich as well as Annecy in France look likely to be in the running.

Japan hosted both of the Winter Olympics previously held in Asia but the last was in 1998 in Nagano so there is likely to be strong support for bringing the Games back to the continent when the decision over the 2018 host city is made by the IOC in 2011.


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