GANGNEUNG, Jan. 12 (Korea Bizwire) – With North Korea expected to send a delegation of athletes and high-ranking officials to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the city of Gangneung has stepped up to offer free accommodations.
Choi Myeong-hee, the mayor of Gangneung, said during a briefing on Thursday that the city is willing to provide lodging for members of North Korea’s Olympic delegation participating in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
The Ojuk hanok village is the venue put on offer by the local government, boasting 49 rooms in 30 buildings with room for up to 300 people.
Close to local landmarks and Olympic venues such as Ojukheon and the Gangneung Olympic Park where the Gangneung Ice Arena is located, local officials say the Ojuk hanok village is a perfect venue to accommodate the North Korean Olympic delegation.
“North Korean performers can also use nearby venues such as the Gangneung Culture & Art Center, Wolhwa Street, and other theater facilities around the station,” Choi said.
The Olympic Games host city’s announcement comes amid reports that North Korea will send a delegation comprising around 20 athletes, high-ranking government officials, a cheering squad and art performers.
“The composition of Olympic delegations are different for the Winter Games and Summer Games,” Park Cheol-geun, a member of the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee explains.
“For the Summer Olympic Games, athletes can make up 60 percent of the delegation, while the ratio of athletes and officials is typically one to one during the Winter Games,” Park said.
If North Korea’s delegation consists of 20 members, based on Park’s explanation, it will include 10 athletes and 10 officials.
Though the only North Korean athletes to qualify for PyeongChang so far are figure skating pair Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik, who are wild-card entries granted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the country could see eight more athletes compete in speed skating and Nordic skiing.
Choi already expressed support for North Korea’s decision to send a delegation during a press conference earlier this week, while promising to offer a warm welcome and support.
In the meantime, the IOC is scheduled to meet with Olympic and government officials from the two Koreas later his month to discuss the name and the size of North Korea’s Olympic delegation.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)