C002D5556 46 BD SUNDAY Sports Sunday 11 February 2018 Norovirus puts PyeongChang Olympic Games at risk ANTHONY NLEBEM The PyeongChang Winter Olympics kicked off on Friday in South Korea, but the fears of Norovirus outbreak and high cost of hotels is putting countries off from participating at the PyeongChang games. The Americans athletes are set to boycott the event, sitting; high travel costs, shortage of hotel rooms and tensions with North Korea. “Our travel sales to this Olympics have been very light,” said Anbritt Stengele, founder of specialist travel company Sports Traveler. PyeongChang, with a population of 44,000 is not a model tourist destination. It’s a two-hour train journey from the South Korean capital, Seoul. Stengele had hoped that clients would be able to stay in Seoul and commute to the Olympics. But then she factored in the time required for trains, event lines and security. “We decided not to recommend this option to our guests,” she said. Flights bookings from the United States to South Korea in February were up 24% compared to the previous year, according to data from travel intelligence firm ForwardKeys. But that is a small bump for such a big event. “You would expect tripledigit growth,” said David Tarsh, a spokesman for ForwardKeys. China and Japan have run the most searches for flights to South Korea, according to data from the travel app Hopper. Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo were the cities with the highest search volume for Olympic travel. Only two U.S. cities made the top 10: Los Angeles (6th) and New York (9th). The average price for round-trip flights from these cities was $800 to $930. About 1,200 people working security at the PyeongChang Olympics are being kept in their rooms for Norovirus test. Lee Hee-beom, chairman of the PyeongChang Olympics organizing committee, said they would be isolated until they are declared well. PyeongChang’s Olympic organizing committee on Monday said officials have started investigating the Norovirus outbreak after 41 security guards suffered diarrhea and vomiting. Officials are examining food and water sources at a mountainside facility in PyeongChang where the guards had been staying and also inspecting 18 other facilities that rely on groundwater. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) on Tuesday said is making all efforts to contain the spread of the deadly Norovirus. The move comes after 41 security guards suffering diarrhea and vomiting tested positive for the virus. “They are really making the ultimate possible effort to make sure that everybody is aware of measures against the virus, and where there are cases, that the right measures are taken,” said Christophe Dubi, the Olympic Games executive director for the IOC. Dubi noted how the PyeongChang Organising Committee was taking a no-risk bythe-books approach when it came to the health matters that could possibly affect the Games. “If any more is identified, then the area gets disinfected,” said Dubi. Dubi also tried to assuage concerns over the possibility of an outbreak within the athletes’ village. “We don’t know exactly what the source was, but when it comes to the food and beverage the whole chain of securing the quality of food, they are definitely respecting all international standards.’’ Dubi also said leaflets highlighting the dangers of the norovirus and how to protect oneself from infection will be distributed to the general population within the Olympic venues. Norovirus is a contagious virus that causes stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea. The most effective way to stop the spread is to practice good hand-washing and personal hygiene. Also, Global flight bookings to South Korea in February were up about 15% compared to last year, according to ForwardKeys. But that’s not as much as you’d expect for a major sporting event. A long-running feud between China and South Korea over the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system has hurt Chinese tourism in South Korea. “The real origin market that matters for [South] Korea is China,” said Tarsh. “The market from China has completely collapsed.” The countries with the biggest surge in interest include Vietnam, the Philippines and Canada. Bookings from Vietnam have surged more than 550% over the previous year, according to ForwardKeys. A South Korean visa waiver program contributed to this boost, said Tarsh. GAC proud to sponsor Lagos City Marathon 2018 ANTHONY NLEBEM As part of of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to promote sports development in lagos and Nigeria, China Automobile Group (GAC Motor) was proud to partner with the organisers of the just held biggest marathon in Africa; the Lagos City Marathon 2018 that took place on Saturday, February 10. As part of its packages for the event, the company on Friday launched its new product, GS8 vehicle at the Eko Hotel and Suites to the admiration of its customers and sport lovers. The new GS8 product with the tag: ‘Made For More’ is a five-door sport utility vehicle. Chairman, CIG Motors, Diana Chan disclosed this to Busi- Diana Chan, Chairman GAC Motors nessDay while stressing the company’s commitment to the success of the marathon. “Sponsoring the marathon is part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in order to give back to our numerous customers and sports lovers. GAC Motor will be giving out seven cars to the organisers of the marathon, out of which two will be going to Nigerian winners in the newly introduced 10km Road race. The newly introduced 10km Race; tagged The Family Race will see the overall winners in male and female categories go home with choice GA3S car each donated by GAC Motors. Chan emphasized that the company was passionate about developing talents. “We are committed to sports because we know it represents development, we are supporting this marathon because we know our cars have endurance. “We are sure this partnership will yield positive results.”. She noted that marathon was good for healthy living of individuals generally and it further informed the decision of the outfit to embrace the project. “Health is wealth and so we encourage people to run for healthy living. There are two or three competitions and we are supporting with our products for the 10km race. “We are going to continue our support for the marathon to make it better just as we also strive to make more quality products for Nigerians,” Chan stressed.
Sunday 11 February 2018 C002D5556 BD SUNDAY 47 Sports High wage bills hurt Manchester United profits ANTHONY NLEBEM English football giant Manchester United on Thursday said its core quarterly earnings dipped because of rising wages for its players after its return to the UEFA Champions League. Manchester United, whose leading players include Paul Pogba and David de Gea, are currently second in the 20-club English Premier League. They have reached the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s elite club competition. “Our solid business model has allowed us to invest in the future of the club with the extension of Jose Mourinho’s contract as manager and the acquisition of Alexis Sanchez,” Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward said. Manager Mourinho last month extended his contract until 2020, while Sanchez moved from Arsenal. The club’s adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the three months to December 31 slipped to 67.8 million pounds ($94.9 million) from 69 million pounds a year ago. Revenue increased 3.8 per cent to 163.9 million pounds in the period —- the second quarter of its 2017/2018 financial year. However, salary expenses for the quarter came in 9.4 per cent higher at 69.9 million The Ministerof Youth and Sports Development, Bar Solomon Dalong has appreciated the contribution of the Akwa Ibom State Government under Governor Udom Emmanuel to the development of sports in Nigeriaand her contribution towards promoting, upholding, sustaining and protecting the image of Nigeria through sports. The Honourable Minister, who referred to Akwa Ibom state as a model in sports development in Nigeria, praised the steady and near impeccable sports development programmes in Akwa Ibom State. Dalong made this declaration in a special Nationalsports award presentation ceremony which took place at the conference hall of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports headquarters, Abuja. Akwa Ibom State was a proud recipient of 3 National Nigeria sports summit awards 2017; where the state won the following awards: 1. Diamond award as the state with the Most Comprehensive Sport Development Programme in Nigeria 2017. 2. The state with theBest pounds on player salary uplifts due to participation in the UEFA Champions League. Controlled by the American Glazer family, Manchester United have won the English league title a record 20 times. Last season, Manchester United won the English League Cup, as well as Europe’s second-tier Europa League competition, securing a slot in the cash-rich Champions League for the current season. L-R: Governor Udom Emmanuel represented by Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Charles Udoh (m), Acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Hauwa Kulu Akinyemi, who represented the Minister of Sports and Chairman Spring Vision International Koncept; Phillips, during the presentation of National Sports Awards to Akwa Ibom State at Federal Ministry of Sports, in Abuja. PyeongChang 2018 is a symbol of world peace, says Sungrae Han Sungrae, Director of the Korean Cultural Centre in Abuja, on Friday said the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang is a symbol of peace and unity to the world. Han told newsmen in Abuja, after watching the Games’ opening ceremony at a viewing centre the Cultural Centre provided, that he was sure the Winter Games would help the world further. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Korean Cultural Centre had provided two viewing centres on its premises for interested Nigerians to watch the PyeongChang Olympics. “The successful organisation of the opening ceremony by both South Korea and North Korea is an indication that only peace will bring development,’’ Han said. NAN reports that host country South Korea produced a show of unity with neighbours North Korea during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Both countries’ athletes came under the same flag during the parade, after months of tension in the Korean peninsula. “I am glad that South Korea has successfully and peacefully hosted the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, in spite of the strong tension earlier Akwa Ibom is a model for sports development in Nigeria- Dalong Sports Infrastructure in Nigeria 2017; and 3. State with the Most Patriotic Sports Supporters in Nigeria. Making the presentation on behalf of the Honourable Minister, Acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Hauwa Kulu Akinyemi stated that the awards are in recognition of the very focused and result oriented sports development programme of the state which are visible in the good results Akwa Ibom State is getting in National competitionsin Nigeria. The minister described the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium as the way to go in sports facilities in Nigerian. He thanked the state government for providing the stadium to the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their World Cup qualifiers towards Russia 2018. The Minister said that the support, hospitality, goodwill and kind gesture of the AkwaIbom people made the National team see Uyo as real home for them. Receiving the awards on behalf of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, the Honourable Commissioner of Information and Strategy. Charles Udoh thanked the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sport and the Organizers of the awards for the honour done Akwa Ibom State. He reiterated the commitment of His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel towards the actualization of the sports development programme of the state. The Commissioner informed the audience that Akwa Ibom State is building another world class Sports Stadium with Artificial in the Korean peninsula. “We are stronger than all the forces that want to divide us and I am happy we are united as one today,’’ he said. The Cultural Centre Director said opening the centre for Nigerians to come in and watch the Winter Olympics was part of the country’s support for Team Nigeria at the Games. “I will like to wish Nigeria team good luck, and that is why we are having this event here today so that we can together cheer Nigeria to victory. “I hope the Nigerian people enjoy the Pyeongchang Olympics alongside Team Nigeria,’’ he said. NAN reports that the Nigerian contingent to the Games has four athletes, two coaches and a team coordinator. The athletes are Seun Adigun, Akuoma Omeoga and Ngozi Onwumere, who will represent Nigeria in the bobsled event, and Simidele Adeagbo who will take part in the skeleton event. NAN reports further that an estimated crowd of 35,000 spectators inside the Olympic Stadium in PyeongChang, South Korea were given seat warmers, wind shields, hats and gloves during the opening ceremony. This was because temperatures in the city went as low as -6C during the two hour-long ceremony. Turft. He also revealed that the State Government is building 10 new Sport Centres in all the federal constituencies in the state, stating that two of these Centres are already completed. Charles Udoh said that the emergence of Akwa United FC as last year Champions of theFederation Cup as well as IbomAngels as runners up in the Female event of the Federation cup, 2017, was not by accident, but due to the implementation of the state’s sport development programme. He described the Honourable Minister as an Icon of sport development in Nigeria and urged all Sport Stakeholders to support the vision of the honorable Minister. The award presentation ceremony was attended by all the Directors in the Federation Ministry of Sports, the representatives of some Sports Federations and stakeholders as well as members of the press and the general public. Winners of the Nigeria sports summit awards are arrived at through voting by sports Journalists, Sports administrators as well as the general public.