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10 November 2021 | in Winter FISU World University Games

Road to Lucerne 2021: Communication and kimchi important ingredients for success of the Republic of Korea says Head of Delegation, Hwayeon Yong

With the 30th Winter Universiade just around the corner, FISU’s U-media reporter, Naomi Ma sat down with Deputy Manager of team Republic of Korea, Hwayeon Yong for more insight about their preparation for the upcoming event.


Hwayeon is in charge of composing, supporting and managing the South Korean delegation. She mentioned to FISU that for the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade, the Korean University Sports Board (KUSB) is planning to send teams to all events except for ski orienteering. In total, there will be 80 athletes and 40 officials participating in the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade from the delegation. For both Hwayeon and KUSB, this number represents a great improvement.


Speaking about the delegation’s participation, Hwayeon explains: “For the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade, our team didn’t attend the ice hockey events. This time, we will attend the men’s ice hockey event. This means a lot for our delegation, and I truly look forward to it. I also hope that in the future, the Korean women’s ice hockey team can as well enjoy the Winter Universiade.”


Different from most National University Sports Federations (NUSFs), the KUSB is part of the Korean National Olympic Committee (NOC). Prior to the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade, the KUSB was busy organising athletes to attend the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. During the Olympics, Hwayeon and her team managed to protect the delegation from the threat of COVID-19, where not a single infection occurred within the South Korean delegation. With this valuable experience as a base, Hwayeon says: “We again, plan to keep all participants safe and healthy before and during the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade.” 


However, Hwayeon mentioned some difficulties that the delegation may also face given the current situation. “Since competitions are located at different places with divided accommodations, it may be difficult to care of the whole delegation. Taking all this into account, we are thinking of ways to perform our best work in supporting the athletes.”


To achieve this goal, Hwayeon’s main focus will be to enhance communication between administrative officials and team officials. “We believe that keeping close communication will help us minimise difficulties our athletes may face during the competition. We also have a plan to manage a hot line, which is a group messenger that works 24/7 to deliver important messages and notifications for delegation support.”


In addition to supporting athletes for competition related affairs, Hwayeon mentioned that the team is also figuring out ways to cater to athlete cravings for korean food, such as kimchi. “Kimchi and Korean food is not only for the Korean delegation, but is now a globally preferred cuisine from all around the world.”


Hwayeon further expresses: “I have made a request to include Kimchi in the Asian cuisine section at the last Heads of Delegation Meeting. Plus, there are Korean restaurants in Lucerne, so we are also planning on providing Korean food—this still needs further consideration due to the reason that competitions will be held in five different regions. We are still thinking of ways to provide Korean meals to the athletes in other regions.”


Like most athletes from other nations, the Korean delegation also faced difficulties participating at national and international competitions during 2020-2021 due to the threat of COVID-19. However, Hwayeon believes the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade will be a turning point for international sports, where student-athletes are able to compete and interact once again.


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