Korea to focus on 11 events in London

Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism pledged Thursday its full support for Korean athletes' successful campaign at the London 2012 Olympics.

"We hope to make the London Olympics a stepping stone for the further development of Korean sports," said Culture Minister Choe Kwang-shik.

With less than 100 days to go until the opening of the London Games, slated for July 27-Aug. 12, the ministry announced that it had selected 11 disciplines, including archery, taekwondo, badminton, swimming and shooting as possible medal sports.

To carry on the country's strong tradition in the selected disciplines, the ministry is providing exclusive support, including overseas training and foreign coaches before the Games.

The ministry also pledged to raise its prize money for medal winners in London. It promised to give 60 million won ($52,600) for each gold medal, up from 50 million four years ago. And silver medalists will receive 30 million won and bronze medalist will earn 18 million, the ministry announced.

Four years ago in Beijing, Korea garnered 31 medals, including 13 golds, to finish seventh in the medals table. This year, some 250 Koreans will compete in London aiming to win more than 10 golds to finish within the top 10, Choe said.

The minister said London has a special meaning in Korea's Olympic history, noting that the 1948 London Games were the country's first ever Olympics following its liberation from Japan.

"We're returning to London after 64 years. During this time the Korean sports have developed significantly, and now we want to make it yet another stepping stone," he added.

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