Pyongyang Sports Delegation Head Says North Korea On Major Sports Drive
North Korean Sports Delegation Head Yang Song Ho said on Wednesday that North Korea "hopes to harness the power of sport to raise its image on the world stage through international competitions such as the Olympic Games," according to Peter Rutherford of REUTERS. In a "rare speech by a North Korean official delivered in the rival South," Yang told a sports science congress in Incheon, west of Seoul, that "the North was working to make sport an everyday concern for the masses." Yang "is part of a North Korean delegation that arrived in the South on Tuesday to attend buildup events for the Incheon Asian Games, which open on Sept. 19." North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "placed heavy emphasis on sport since coming to power in 2012." Yang said in addition to fostering world-class athletes, the ultimate goal of sports development in the North was to ensure its citizens became "comprehensively developed human beings possessed of sound body and sturdy willpower so that they can contribute to labor and national defense." Stressing the importance the country placed on sports development, Yang quoted Kim as saying, "We should raise more fiercely the strong wind of conducting sports throughout the country" (REUTERS, 8/20).