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PyeongChang 2018 chief tackles concerns over venue construction, sponsorship sales

Newly-appointed PyeongChang 2018 president Lee Hee-beom has maintained concerns over venue construction and the sponsorship programme for the next edition of the winter Olympic Games will be addressed, after completing his first week in the job.

Lee (pictured) was this month formally elected as the new president of the PyeongChang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic winter Games (POCOG) after Cho Yang-ho stepped down to concentrate on his business interests.

Lee, who took office on May 16, spent his first week in the job with a series of briefings, venue visits and meetings with PyeongChang 2018 staff, national winter sports federations and government officials. In his first press conference as POCOG president, Lee said organisers would be able to meet 90 per cent of their target of 870 billion won (€645m/$731m) in domestic sponsorship revenue by the end of the year.

He also moved to downplay financial concerns entering the final phase of venue construction and another series of test events at Olympic venues beginning in December. “We have 630 days left before the Games start, which is not a lot of time, but still enough,” Lee said. “The hardware part of the preparations is moving well. There has been some concerns (over venue construction), but they will be resolved before the start of the test events at the end of the year.”

He added: “I will accomplish 90 per cent of the corporate sponsorship goal by the end of this year. It is true that our budget is insufficient, but we have to consider the situation in this country. We are currently working on setting our fourth budget plan.”

Lee was joined at Friday’s news conference by Gunilla Lindberg, chair of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Coordination Commission for PyeongChang 2018. While expressing her faith in the new leadership, Lindberg conceded that organisers still have a “lot of work to be done” adding that the next set of test events will be crucial.

Lindberg said: “It is obvious that Pyeongchang 2018 is in very capable hands. Our time together makes me confident Mr. Lee knows what needs to be done in this critical operational phase. He is certainly off to a fast start.”