European champion Steve Gram suffered his first major defeat against his best friend and training partner David Sharpe in England’s athletics International against the Unit4 States on Friday.
Cram, the former 1,500 meters world champion and 1984 Olympic silver medal list, looked poised for a characteristic triumph as he approached the final bend of a 1,000 meters race perched on the shoulder of leader Tony Morrell,
South Korea, haunted by fears of military adventurism from its hostile nor them neighbour and racked by violent student demonstrations, is mounting the biggest security operation in sports history to protect the Seoul Olympic Games.
“North Korea has manifested throughout the years very aggressive behavior,” said US. Defence Secretary Frank Carlucci after two days of security talks with South Korean military leaders earlier this month. “So we certainly cannot rule out the possibility that they will disrupt the Olympics,” he said.
‘A hundred thousand highly trained police commandos, soldiers and security agents will stand ready to ‘deal with any problem at more than 300 facilities with a vast array of sophisticated security devices.
South Korean warships and aircraft will patrol regularly as the country’s 700,000 troops and policemen go on full alert across. South Korean from August, security officials said. The World’s biggest sports event opens on September 17 and ends on October 2.
The United States, which has 40,000 troops stationed in South Korea, will stage military exercise in the sea and air as a show of force to North Korea during the Games.
In the Southern city of Pusan, where the yachting events will be held, an elaborate security cordon has been an arranged. Commando Frogmen will patrol the yachting courses, naval gunboats will be close by and frigates will be stationed further out to sea.
“As far as security is concerned, no one can guarantee 100 percent perfection”, says Yuk WanSik, Olympic security chief.
“The Games would be broken into pieces by a single grenade thrown”, the grim looking Yuk told reporters recently.
Yuk, a retired three star army general, is the head of the security coordination and control headquarters, which supervises operations by the entire military, police and civilian security forces in South Korea.
The Schn, Yuk said, has intelligence information regarding “600 international terrorist groups” using computers and has, installed 60,000 pieces of “state of the art scientific equipment” including metal detectors at airports, hotels, competition sites and the athletes’ village.
“Allies of our country have lost no time in giving us any information on the movement of terrorists. I know what’s going in international terrorism circles like the back of my hand,” Yuk said,
During the Games, the Scchn will operate antiterrorism corps, equipped with silencer attached guns capable of shooting 600 bullets a minute and devices that allow 100 per cent accuracy by tracing the objects with lasers.
The athletes’ village, which will house more than 13,000 athletes and games officials, will be surrounded by three layer steel net fences and other protective barriers with troops watching from guard towers.
Any attempt to infiltrate the village will be detected by sophisticated devices like electronic shock sensors and X-ray equipment.
The headquarters recently threw open the gates of its Hiterto top secret police camp in Southern Seoul for journalists and put on a breathtaking demonstration of antiterrorist techniques, including rapid fire shootings, detecting explosives with sniffer dogs and combative martial arts,
‘The police commandos, dressed in black fatigues and hoods, also demonstrated their swift and silent surgical strike capabilities at the Olympic Stadium last week, spinning down from the stadium roof on ropes and leaping from a truck to counter a terrorist strike on marathon runners.
Yuk admitted excessive security could dampen the festive mood of the games, but recalled the 1972 killing of 11 Israeli athletes in a guerrilla attack on Munich’s Olympic Village.
“The most tragic incident in the Olympic history broke out due to negligence of security measures”, he said.
“We will ensure maximum safety for Games participants, But great emphasis will also be placed on ensuring that security ‘measures are taken in a soft atmosphere ‘and without causing any inconvenience”, he added.
Seoul, with a population of more than 10 million, is only 40 km from the border with community North Korea, which is boycotting the Games.
A state of war has existed between the two nations since the end of the three year Korean War in 1953 and violence flares up sporadically along the 240 km demilitarized zone that has divided an estimated 10 million Korean families.
The Defence Ministry said last week the north was keeping 65 per cent of its ground forces within 140 km of the border and could launch a surprise attack at any time without redeploying combat forces.
The Ministry also said North Korea had deployed surface to air Sa5 missiles and surface to surface Scud missiles near the border, increasing threats to the South’s security
‘Also worrying Games organizers are violent demonstrations by student radicals in support of North Korea demands that the Games be held jointly in Seoul and Pyongyang to help reunite the divided peninsula. The North says it will boycott the Games if its demands are not met.
The Seoul government, which is staking its international reputation on successfully staging the Games, has ordered a crackdown on the leftist radicals who hope to use the Olympics to make known their cause to the world.
Organizers are concerned by prospects that what should be the world’s greatest sporting festival will be marred by violent clashes between riot police and students with teargas floating through stadiums.
‘Security measures for the Games have been beefed up since the alleged North Korean destruction of a Southern last November, with the loss of all 15 people on board.
Last January, a confessed North Korean agent held by the South said she planted a bomb aboard the Korean air lines plane on direct orders from leaders in Pyongyang. The North denies it was involved.
‘The 26yearold agent, Kim HyonHui, said part of her mission was to scare countries away from the Olympics.
Yuuk said it was less likely North Korea would plan major attacks on Seoul during the Games now that its greatest allies, including the Soviet Union and China, are taking part.
“But as a security official, I didn’t predict anything, I see the one per cent possibility that can wreck the 99 per cent of preparedness,” Yuk said.