Football: Park Ji Sung named first torchbearer for 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

Manchester United's Ji-sung Park at the Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on Sept 2, 2017.
Manchester United's Ji-sung Park at the Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on Sept 2, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (BERNAMA) - South Korean football icon Park Ji Sung has been named the first torchbearer for the first Winter Olympics to take place in his native country, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

The organising committee for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games said on Wednesday that the former men's national team captain, will carry the torch first after the lighting and handover ceremonies in Ancient Olympia, Greece, on Oct 24.

Park, 36, was one of South Korea's most iconic football stars until his retirement in 2014. He represented the country at three Fifa World Cups, scoring at least a goal in each of the three tournaments.

He won 100 caps for South Korea, one of nine in the team's century club.

The former Manchester United midfielder is also the first South Korean to play in the English Premier League.

Park is an Olympian himself, having played at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games.

He was named an honorary ambassador for Pyeongchang 2018 in August this year.

The torch will tour Greece, the birthplace of the modern Olympics, before arriving in South Korea on Nov 1, when the countdown to Pyeongchang will reach 100 days.

The relay will have 7,500 runners cover 2,018km, a nod to the year in which the Olympics will take place, and travel through nine provinces, eight major cities, and 151 counties and districts under the slogan "Let Everyone Shine".