Q. Ordinary citizens are often unsure about the Organizing Committee’s work. So, we’d like to get rid of the curiosity through this interview. Tell us about the specific mission of Competition Bureau in Organizing Committee.
A. Our main focus is on the actual competition. It has taken around two years to arrange the nine day event schedule. You may think that that is a long time, but you also have to remember that there are a lot of things that need to be considered. We need to simultaneously adjust to the constantly changing situations from the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations), the Host Broadcaster (KBS), and broadcasting time slot in the largest athletics markets (Europe and the United States). It took me almost 2 years to receive final approval on our timetable from the IAAF Council Members and other relevant organizations. We were able to reach our finalized timetable with the help and consultation from the Daegu 2011 Technical Delegates.
Q. I’m curious about your personal history. I have heard that you are not a Daegu City Official or resident. How did you become involved with the Organizing Committee?
A. I began my career in sports management in the spring of 1982, when I was an assistant in my graduate school, Dongguk University, while working I received an official recruitment letter from 1988 Seoul Olympic Games Organizing Committee. I was requested to assist with the organization of the event. I was very excited, as this was my first encounter with sports administration.
Not long after joining the Seoul Olympic Games Organizing Committee (SOGOC), I remember that a man wearing thick glasses and trench-coat had joined the Committee. He was fluent in English and capable of successfully negotiating issues with the International Olympic Committee. This man is the Daegu 2011 LOC’s current Vice President and Secretary General, Mr. Dong-Hoo Moon.
After working with him, many of the young committee members, including myself had dubbed him our “lifesaver.” During my seven year stay in the competition bureau of the SOGOC) he had been a great influence on me and much of the other staff.
After the Olympics Games I began my new job working with the Korea Sports Promotion Organization (KSPO). This organization was established to utilizing the various sports facilities such as the pool, gymnasium and velodrome in the Seoul Olympic Park as profit legacy from the Olympic Games. I was responsible for marketing in this organization.
After working there for some time, I then felt that something was lacking, and I decided to head to the United States to study. This was a surprise to many because I was already over the age of 30. I believe that this drive was sparked during my time with the SOGOC, where I had met a lot of friends from many different backgrounds who instilled upon me the “Need to learn more.” I took their advice and I pursued a degree in Michigan.
After finishing my degree I can back to Korea, and I worked for the SBS Professional Basketball Team (Now Anyang KT&G) in 1997, where I happily worked for until just three years ago.
Q. Many people don’t realize the importance and magnitude of this event, what can you say about next year’s Championships?
A. This event will launch Daegu into the international spotlight, it is important that Daegu and Korea come together to make this a successful event. As this is the thirds largest athletics event in the world, we want to ensure that we have created the best possible arena for athletes of all backgrounds to compete and earn their best results for next year’s Championships.
Q. Is athlete invitation and scouting is the one of Competition Bureau’s main jobs?
A. Yes, that is one of our primary focuses. In selecting athletes to compete we are required to analyze the data and records of all athletes from Entry Standards provided by IAAF. After we have finished our analysis, we then forward our results to the relevant divisions within the LOC in order to arrange smooth entry procedures, hospitality, accommodation, and meals.
After all of this has been verified we then are required to manage each of the teams’ schedules; this will be assisted by our Team Attachés Volunteers who will accompany athletics teams to and from the Athletes’ Village to the Daegu Stadium and even the training areas.
With regard to event progression, our bureau also is responsible for Event Presentation Management (EPM). This is how we are able to control all elements of Event, including competition operation, movement, all broadcasting (including script of announcer and sound effects).
Q. In reviewing past editions of the Championships, athletes suffered from a control condition, due to the event start time being 8 am in Athens 1997. How will the next Championships be?
A. As I said earlier, it two years of consultation. In case of Athens, that’s the matter of host city’s power. But we believe that there were lots of reasons to set a start time at 8 am, but it’s mainly due to overseas TV coverage time. We decided to break from tradition, so we held out and said we wouldn’t do it. This led to us having a start time for 10am for most of the events.
Additionally, there is a Test Event, which will simulate the procedures for the World Championships. Our test events will occur on 10 April 2011, during the Daegu International Marathon and on 12 May 2011 during the Colorful Daegu Pre-Championship Meeting (IAAF World Challenge). This will provide the LOC with an invaluable opportunity to test our current preparations. We are planning to have Dress Rehearsal on 24 and 25 Aug, just before the event for a final check of our preparations.
Q. Wow, that can’t be an easy job, can it?
A. It is difficult but it becomes manageable with the support of all of the people involved the pre preparation. As of now the IAAF has nominated Technical Delegates for our Championships, they include Mr. Cesar Moreno Bravo (MEX), Mr. Bill Bailey (AUS), and Mr. Shen Chunde (CHN) who is the former 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Competition Director.
It is because of these individuals that our event preparations are going so well. I am especially thankful to Cesar Moreno Bravo, is like my tutor. In 1968 he was one of the top officials for the Mexico City Olympic Games. He also has been an IAAF Council Member for over 40 years, with an expertise in event management, regulations, and operation.
When I first joined the Organizing Committee, there were no Korean International Technical Officials (ITO) nor were there any National Technical Officials (NTO). This was disturbing as in Osaka, Japan there were approximately 200. In order to be qualified as an ITO, applicants must pass the test in English.
Thanks to Cesar Moreno’s help, we managed to produce 100 NTOs by hosting the test in Korean. During the testing and training the NTOs were taught all of the competition rules, regulations, and procedures. My tutor, Cesar, gave me very important advice to ensure that there are female referees in Korea. So this year in December we will welcome 20 new female NTOs.
Q. Final question. You’ve been doing well till now. Is there anything you are worried about or is there anything that will determine the success of the event?
A. There are only three words that need to leave my lips “Education, Education and Education.” This is the key to success. Our staff is always studying and learning and that will ensure our success. Additionally I believe that the event can only be successful if the citizens and volunteers from Daegu give their full support. Currently most of them lack knowledge about our event and athletics as a whole. Therefore intensive training is required for our volunteers, and our staff is ensuring their expertise.
During my interview with Mr. Kim, I found him to be a very passionate person. This interview might be an inspiration to not only to the staff and citizens but also to young athletes. He emphasized that this event is not only limited to the Daegu area but it is a world-wide festival being hosted by Korea. He hopes and believes that Daegu will become a well known international city through this event just like Seoul did after 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.