UPDATE : 2019.12.6 FRI 17:52
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PyeongChang 2018 chief optimistic about Paralympics ticket sales

The chief of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games said Sunday he is optimistic about the Paralympics ticket sales as more people will purchase tickets during the multisport event for the disabled athletes.

Lee Hee-beom, who leads the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG), said he is positive that the Paralympics ticket sales will surge once the event begins.

"When the International Paralympic Committee President (Andrew Parsons) visited PyeongChang earlier this month, he told us not to be too concerned about the ticket sales," Lee told South Korean reporters on a flight to Athens, where the organizers will receive the Olympic flame Tuesday. "He said many people purchase tickets when the event actually starts, so we're not too concerned about it at this moment."

Parsons had a three-day visit to South Korea starting Oct. 15 and checked preparedness for the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics. During his meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, he asked for the government's support to promote the Paralympics.

Last Friday, South Korean lawmaker Jo Seoung-lae of the ruling Democratic Party, who received the data from the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, said only 457 tickets for the PyeongChang Paralympics had been sold as of Oct. 17. The organizers, however, refuted Jo's report, saying it didn't include the number of group ticket sales. The POCOG said 9,401 tickets, or 4.3 percent of available tickets, had been sold in South Korea for the upcoming Paralympics as of Tuesday, including group tickets.

Lee added the Paralympics needs more attention like the Olympics, adding that the organizers will give their best effort to promote the event.

The Winter Paralympics will be staged in PyeongChang, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul, and its adjacent cities in Gangwon Province from March 9 to 18 next year. The event follows the Feb. 9-25 Winter Olympics.

In this file photo taken Oct. 16, 2017, Lee Hee-beom, who leads the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG), speaks during the International Paralympic Committee Project Review meeting in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province. (Yonhap)

Hwi Won  edt@koreapost.com

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