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New secretary general seeks to continue PyeongChang 2018 progress

The PyeongChang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) has appointed long-serving Korean government official Yeo Hyeong-gu as its new secretary general with immediate effect.

Yeo’s responsibilities will include ensuring that all Games-related facilities, such as competition venues, the Olympic Stadium for opening and closing ceremonies and Olympic villages, will be constructed in time. He will also oversee marketing, accommodation, transport and promotion of the Games to the Korean public.

Yeo recently concluded his 35-year-long public service position as the Second Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. POCOG said it expects that his long-time service in government and strong leadership will contribute to strengthening support from local and national governments, as well as the public.

Yeo said: “Personally, I feel a greater responsibility than joy for the honour since there is a lot of work to be done in order to successfully host the Games in 2018. The goal of POCOG is to stage successful Games for the world, and therefore all staff members must do their best in order to achieve that goal. I will also endeavour to work to enhance national competitiveness and improve Korea's performance.

“We are only two years away from the opening of the Games, and there are three months left to the start of the first test event which will serve as the cornerstone of success in 2018. Throughout my 35 years of public service, I've always believed that the answers emerge on the spot, and I will also do the same for PyeongChang 2018.”

Yeo’s appointment comes with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) becoming increasingly comfortable with the pace of progress in PyeongChang. In September, the IOC said PyeongChang 2018 needs to “maintain their focus” on venue delivery for the winter Games, but praised the progress being made by South Korean organisers.

The IOC’s Coordination Commission for PyeongChang 2018’s fifth visit to the Korean host city stated it was positive about the progress being made, while underlining the importance of test events for the Games preparations.

The past year has seen increased cooperation between the International Federations, POCOG and the IOC due in part to the Integration Working Group. The special joint task force was established in March amid concerns over the pace of preparations in PyeongChang, but the IOC said it has since proven “very effective” in its support for the 2018 Games.