Toyota sponsoring 25 Paralympics athletes; Koreas to march separately
Toyota, the Japanese car brand that is a ‘TOP’ sponsor of the Olympics and Paralympics, is sponsoring 25 athletes at this month’s winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang
The company’s sponsorship includes financial and technology support for athletes taking part in the games, which get under way this Friday and run until 18 March.
Toyota has provided some athletes with vehicles and activity fees and also helped with the development of equipment.
Some of the athletes are also Toyota employees.
‘Team Toyota’ comprises athletes from the UK, USA, Netherlands, Mexico, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Japan, Germany, France, Finland, Denmark and Australia. Toyota is also sponsoring the Italian para ice hockey team.
The company is acting as the worldwide mobility partner for the 2018 winter Paralympics, and also has tie-ups with the national Paralympic committees of 177 countries.
Meanwhile, the International Paralympic Committee announced today that athletes, coaches and officials from North and South Korea will be marching separately at the opening ceremony tomorrow.
The IPC had been hopeful that the two countries would opt to walk together at the ceremony after their Olympic delegations marched under a unified Korean flag at the opening and closing ceremonies at last month’s Winter Olympics.
In a statement today, the IPC said it had “offered both countries the chance to march together under the same conditions as last month’s Olympic Winter Games” but “despite a day of amicable and positive discussions between the two NPCs in the Paralympic Village, the two parties have decided not to march under the same conditions."
Andrew Parsons, president of the IPC, added: “Although we are disappointed, we respect the decision of the two NPCs who decided that marching separately would be better for both parties.
“During today’s discussions it was clear that NPC North Korea respects and values the IPC’s vision and mission. Going forward, it has committed to working further with the IPC to improve the lives of people with an impairment in North Korea.
“At the end of the meeting both NPCs recognised that their participation in PyeongChang 2018 has brought them closer together, and the two have committed to working more closely together in the future. I think this underlines the tremendous ability of sport to bring countries together in positive dialogue."
• More than 3,100 doping tests were conducted during last month's winter Olympics, it has been revealed.
Of the 3,149 tests administered, 1,393 were in competition and 1,756 were out of competition.
PyeongChang 2018 marked the first time that the IOC had used video surveillance to monitor the laboratory at a winter Olympics, a move that was deemed necessary after claims that tests at the Sochi 2014 games had been swapped as part of a Russian state-supported doping programme.
Four athletes failed doping tests at the PyeongChang games, two of which were from Russia.
In December, the IOC ruled that selected ‘clean’ Russian athletes could take part in PyeongChang, but only under the name ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’, wearing uniforms bearing this name, and competing under the Olympic flag, with the Olympic anthem to be played at any ceremony.
The ruling followed a major doping scandal in Russian sport centred on the Sochi 2014 winter Olympics.
Some Russians have been cleared to participate as 'Neutral Paralympic Athletes' at the games starting this week.
• Around 15,000 tourists used Airbnb, the online home rental marketplace, when they visited PyeongChang and its surrounding areas during the Winter Olympics, the USA-based platform has said.
The number of travellers that reserved accommodation in the Gangwon Province region was 500-per-cent more than in the same period last year.
Of the total number of tourists, about 6,600 of the visitors were foreign.
In November last year, Airbnb signed an agreement with PyeongChang 2018 to provide accommodation for visitors amid concerns over a lack of rooms and high prices.
Airbnb provided a similar service at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.