WORLD CUP TROPHY ARRIVES IN SEOUL
With less than two months left before the 2010 World Cup kicks off, the FIFA World Cup Trophy was shown in Seoul yesterday as part of a FIFA World Cup exhibition tour.
SO CLO SE, YET SO FAR — Huh Jung-moo, the Korean national soccer team manager, poses with the FIFA World Cup Trophy at a display ceremony in Seoul yesterday.
Under heavy security, the trophy arrived on Monday in a special jet. During the trophy's three-day stopover, Korean soccer fans will get the chance to enjoy a rare close-up view of the one of the world's most recognized sports symbols.
The public display is scheduled for Wednesday at I' Park Mall, a shopping center in Yongsan, Seoul. A special 3-D movie will be shown featuring memorable moments from previous World Cups, as well as performances.
Cho Chung-yun, the president of Korean Football Association and Huh Jung-moo, the Korean national team manager, were among the guests in attendance at a display ceremony at the Millennium Seoul Hilton hotel.
Standing in front of the golden trophy, Huh seemed overjoyed. "This is the first time for me to actually see this trophy," the manger said,
"I wish I could lift it up at the 2010 World Cup, and bring it back again. But that would be too ambitious. I believe everything should be done step by step."
"Our initial goal in South Africa is to reach the second round," Huh added.
The World Cup tour began at FIFA headquarters in Zurich on Sept. 21 and it has traveled to 80 different countries before coming to Korea.
The trophy will visit a total of 84 countries, covering 134,017 kilometers.
The current FIFA World Cup Trophy made by Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga was first introduced in the 1974 World Cup after Brazil was given permanent ownership of the Jules Rimet Cup after their third victory in 1970.
It is 36-cm high, made of solid 18-carat gold and weighs 6.1 kilograms. The winners of the World Cup do not keep the trophy for good. Instead, they retain it until the next tournament and are given a replica when they return it. The bottom of the Trophy bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974, according to FIFA.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup takes place in South Africa -- the first time it will be on the African continent. The competition kicks off on June 11, and the final match is slated for July 11. The Korean national team plays its first match against Greece on June 12.
By Oh Kyu-wook