The Church of God Aurah Supporters, who had been working hard to enhance national prestige by providing active volunteer support and cheering for the international sports events such as the 2002 Busan Asian Games, the 2003 Daegu Universiade and the 2011 ASEAN Taekwondo Championships, played an active part again in the 14th Mungyeong World Soft Tennis Championships. They held the welcome and farewell ceremonies for about 400 athletes and officials from 34 countries who visited Korea to participate in the championships which were held in Mungyeong City from October 27 to November 1.
ⓒ 2011 WATV
The Aurah Supporters welcomed the athletes and officials from each country at the Incheon Apirport, who started to arrive in Korea from October 21. They welcomed the athletes and officials who had just finished a long flight, by shouting out loud, “We love you!” and waving placards and flags. After this welcome performance, they presented gifts and souvenirs to them and helped carry their luggage, so that they could relieve tension before the games. The welcome ceremony continued from early in the morning till late at night, whenever each team arrived in Korea. The athletes and officials also kept shouting out loud, “We love you!” and then they joyfully left for the host city of the championships.
Throughout the championships, the players displayed their skills which they had trained. The six-day championships were concluded by a farewell party. Then the Aurah Supporters saw them off at the airport. They escorted the athletes and officials from the entrance of the airport and helped them go through the departure procedures smoothly, providing interpretation services for them, so that they would ease their fatigue from the successive competitions and would not have any inconvenience. The athletes and officials also recognized the Aurah Supporters and greeted them gladly. They shared friendship with each other by giving gifts and souvenirs to one another.
ⓒ 2011 WATV
Rod MacDougall, the vice-president of the American Soft Tennis Association, expressed his joy, saying, “In fact, soft tennis is an unpopular sport. Nevertheless, the Aurah Supporters were willing to come to the airport even so early in the morning to welcome the athletes and officials. I was very surprised and amazed by their heartfelt welcome. This is a really special experience for me. I’ve learned what we should prepare for the success of the soft tennis championships that will be held in California in 2013.” Joseph Arcilla, a player of the Philippine soft tennis team who won bronze in the championships, conveyed his gratitude, saying, “Victory or defeat in a sports game depends on confidence. At this game, the warm welcome of the Aurah Supporters greatly helped us give our best performance.”
This was not the first time that the Aurah Supporters provided support for the World Soft Tennis Championships. At the 13th Anseong World Soft Tennis Championships 2007, the Aurah Supporters set up an operational headquarters and provided a full range of support services for the athletes and officials, including passionate cheering for them.
ⓒ 2011 WATV
Jong-ryul Choi, the head coach of the Laos national team, recalled his memories of the 13th World Soft Tennis Championships held in 2007 when he was the head coach of the Thailand national team, saying, “At the last championships, I was greatly moved by the heartfelt support of the Aurah Supporters who provided full airfare for the Thailand national team who had been suffering from a shortage of expenses.” Then he applauded the Aurah Supporters, saying, “Their constant support and care for foreigners will be of great help in introducing Korea’s unique culture of affection to the world.”
The Aurah Supporters, who moved people from all around the world as people-to-people diplomats, hoped that the athletes and officials would cherish the memories of Korea in their hearts for a long time.