A Festival For Everyone
It was incredible! Everybody was amazed at the prowess shown by the Korean football fighters in a warm-up match against defending World Cup champion France. Korean people's expectations for qualifying for the final 16 are very high.
With World Cup games being played all around Korea, we have become more and more fervent as the hosts of the world's football festival. However, there is still much to be desired.
Last May 16, several civic organizations for the disabled in Korea toured the World Cup stadiums and issued a statement saying that the facilities for the disabled are generally poor.
Organized by the Research Institute of the Differently Abled Rights in Korea (RIDRIK) and Easy Access Act for People With Disabilities in Korea (EAAPD), the "barrier-free" stadium investigation was conducted from February 2001 to March 2002 to check how convenient the facilities in the stadiums are for the disabled and to find out how difficult it is for them to get to the stadiums when using public transportation.
According to the RIDRIK's research, it is impossible for the disabled to go to most stadiums in Korea by using the subway. As a result, they have to use buses, taxis or their own cars. But in the case of buses, there are not enough specially designed ones for the disabled.
Even if physically-challenged people arrive at the stadiums, other problems are waiting for them. Although first- and second-level seats are sold to the disabled at the price of third-level seats, if people who are in front of them stand up when the matches are getting excited, the disabled can't enjoy the matches properly.
The attitudes about the disabled are also a problem awaiting solution. A university student speaking on condition of anonymity asked, "Is it possible that visually-impaired people would come to the stadiums to watch the matches?" A poll recently conducted by RIDRIK showed that more than 35 percent of visually-impaired people had watched sports games at least once last year. However, there are almost no proper devices such as raised blocks or braille dots for those people in the World Cup stadiums, the report said. It shows people's prejudice toward the disabled. The World Cup Final will be held in Korea and Japan from May 31 to June 30 with the participation of all the people around the world. One important aspect of this soccer tournaments is that the disabled are also entitled to enjoy this World festival. Then it can truly be a festival for all the world's people.
Kim Jung-yoon firstname.lastname@example.org
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