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A Five-Meter Tall Hiddink Balloon

Posted July. 19, 2005 03:22,   


At Peace Cup 2005 Korea, the biggest star was not one of the players.

The real star was Guus Hiddink, PSV Eindhoven’s head coach and the hero who led the Korean national team to the semifinals in the 2002 World Cup.

A five-meter tall Hiddink balloon was seen at Gwangju World Cup Stadium where the match was held on July 17. Made in the image of Hiddink’s famous uppercut ceremony, this balloon was installed at the north entrance but was so big it was instantly visible in all corners of the stadium.

“This is where our team defeated Spain and created a World Cup legend in June 2002,” said Lee Jung-hwan, who works at the Physical Education and Youth Department at Gwangju City Hall. “We made the installation to represent the citizens of Gwangju in welcoming Guus Hiddink for visiting Gwangju again for the first time in three years.”

On an interview held this day, Hiddink answered the citizens’ cheers, saying, “The memories of the victory over Spain in 2002 came back when I arrived here. I am happy to feel the sweetness of that moment once more.”

One shortcoming was that Hiddink’s autograph signing session with fans was not run properly because of his busy schedule.

The signing session that was originally scheduled to take place at 5:30 p.m. on July 16, a day before the match, was delayed an hour but ended up starting later than 7:00 p.m. Moreover, it ended after only 10 minutes, and hundreds of fans who had waited to see him had to leave without seeing him.

Jae-Yun Jung jaeyuna@donga.com