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Pyeongchang 2018 changes Paralympic venue plans

The Pyeongchang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic winter Games (POCOG) has announced that all Para alpine skiing and snowboard contests will be held at Jeongseon Alpine Centre, in a move that the organisation said will result in significant cost savings.

The original Pyeongchang 2018 proposal set out plans to host Para alpine skiing downhill, alpine super G and super combined events at Jeongseon, with giant slalom, slalom and snowboard competitions to take place at Yongpyong Alpine Centre.

However, Pyeongchang 2018 has been under pressure to cut costs and POCOG and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have now approved a measure to consolidate Para alpine skiing and snowboard contests at the same venue. The Paralympic competitions will take place in March 2018.

In a statement, POCOG said the move would result in “considerable cost savings”, while overlay costs would also be lower with less infrastructure needed in one venue. The local organising committee added that the number of staff required will also drop from 682 to 332.

“By holding both competitions in the same venue, spectators will be able to enjoy more events in one place, creating a rousing atmosphere for everyone involved,” POCOG said. “It also ensures easier access and a safer slope width for Alpine skiers and provides separate courses for the events, which eliminates the needs to convert the snowboard track to a Slalom slope during the Paralympic winter Games.”

POCOG and the IPC have also agreed to use the IPC Snowboard World Cup Finals and IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup at Jeongseon this March as official test events for contests that will take place at the same venue during next year’s Games.

POCOG secretary general Yeo Hyung Koo said: “We expect that this consolidation of events will bring about efficient Games preparation and operations at both the test events next year and the Paralympic winter Games in 2018, as well as substantial savings.”

Xavier Gonzalez, chief executive of the IPC, added: “This is a good move for everyone, especially spectators, allowing people to come an enjoy two of the most exciting Paralympic sports on the programme in a single venue. The test events in March will enable us to see well in advance what is working well and to make any necessary improvements.”