Busan Asian Games conclude
A final curtain comes down on 14th Asian Games with organisers declaring the event a major success despite poor ticket sales and controversial judgements.india Updated: Oct 14, 2002 21:27 IST
A final curtain comes down on the 14th Asian Games with organizers declaring the event a major success despite poor ticket sales and controversies of the standards of judging.
The final seven gold medals were set to be decided here Monday, including the men's marathon crown, men's and women's basketball titles, the men's badminton championship and the individual show jumping equestrian crown.
"The Busan Games is the biggest in Asian Games history, being judged as one of the most exemplary games and one of the most successful events," said Chung Soon-Taek, president of the organizing committee.
"Even though there have been some shortcomings in running the event, they did not disrupt the process of the Games."
Numerous officiating controversies did disrupt events, notably in boxing, tennis and badminton.
Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat walked out for two hours during a match in the men's badminton team final after a "home" call for South Korean Shon Seung Mo.
"I express regret about the linejudgement," Chung said. "There is talk about home advantage because this is our own turf. Judgement calls should be objective. Our priority here is a fair judgement."
Organizers also had to ponder the question "What if they held an Asiad and nobody noticed?" In the aftermath of World Cup fever that gripped South Koreans in June, the Asiad was far less of a lure to spectators.
Only about half the available tickets were sold, with many events before sparse crowds and school children brought into venues so fewer athletes were forced to play in silence before empty seats.
"The figures of the spectators exceeded our expectations," claimed Chung, who could have saved money by reducing seating capacity at some venues had true attendance estimates been predicted.
"Events like volleyball, basketball and taekwondo were completely sold out (at times) due to their popularity. Other events sold less well than we would have liked."
Chung said 750 to 800 athletes were drug tested. The only positive dope test confirmed was on women's 1,500m champion Sunita Ran.
One of the 17,000 volunteers died during the event's 16-day run. Her family will be paid by the organizers.
"They will receive insurance, but it is not much," Chung said.
Entering the final day, China set the medal pace with 149 golds and 301 overall followed by the hosts with 92 golds and 250 total medals. The Japanese came third with 44 golds and 186 medals overall.
North Koreans participated in the event as a way of promoting reunification and their presence became a focal point, from cheering blocks kept seperated from the rest of the crowds to athletes that won 33 medals, nine of them gold.
Palestine captured its first medal, a boxing bronze, and Afghanistan won a bronze in women's taekwondo, with Roia Zamani triumphing over the troubles in her homeland to leave her Asiad mark.
First Published: Oct 14, 2002 12:41 IST