March 20, 2017

PyeongChang Winter Olympic : Process of 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic preparation

PyeongChang Winter Olympic is scheduled to take place from 9 to 25 February 2018. 

It will be the first Winter Olympic Games and second Olympic Games in South Korea. Seoul hosted the first one, 1988 Summer Olympic Games. PyeongChang will also be the third East Asian city to host the Winter Games after Sapporo, Japan (1972) and Nagano, Japan (1998).

One interesting fact I learnt about 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic is that the preparation for it had started since 2003!

The first bid was in 2003. In the first-round voting at the IOC Session in Prague, PyeongChang won the most votes, but lost to Vancouver by 3 votes (53-56) in the final vote.

Then, they tried again in 2007. The highest number of votes was cast to PyeongChang in the first round of voting at the IOC Session in Guatemala but Sochi won the final vote by four more ballots (47-51).

You would think it was over after two failed attempts but PyeongChang never gave up. Hope came again in 2010 when the IOC shortlisted PyeongChang together with Munich and Annecy as candidate cities for 2018 Games.

After 3 consecutive bids, their determination paid off in 2011 when PyeongChang was selected as the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, receiving an overwhelming 63 out of 95 votes during the IOC Session in Durban, South Africa. That same year, PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games was founded, and the real preparation began.

The venues for PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games are clustered at 2 areas; PyeongChang Mountain Cluster and Gangneung Coastal Cluster.

The construction of the 2nd Yeongdong highway between Gwangju in Gyeonggi province and Wonju had completed, and the new highway between East Hongcheon and Yangyang is now under construction.

When the new highway opens to operation, it will distribute the traffic volume between Seoul area and Gangwon province or Gangneung and improve the travel between these two regions. Also, for spectators who are going to Gangneung for ice sport competitions, the new highway between East Hongcheon and Yangyang will shorten the travel time.

For more info about 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic, click here.

March 14, 2017

PyeongChang Winter Olympic : Olympic Test Event

The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is having the Olympic Test Event from February 2016 until April 2017.

In total, there are 29 sporting events taking place in the same competition venues which will be used during the Games next year, giving the opportunity for athletes and officials to familiarize themselves with the competition venues and the host region.

3000 athletes are expected to participate in the test events (20 Olympic events, 5 Paralympic events, 2 non-competition events and 2 non-sport events), with support from 1000 volunteers. 

It will be an ideal platform for the public to participate and engage with the events and the Games. Thus, if you are in Korea or planning to visit Korea soon, you may want to include a trip to Gangwon province and catch a glimpse of how the Olympic Games will be next year at these venues;

Snow & Sliding Sports

Alpensia Biathlon Centre - Biathlon / IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing

Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Centre - Cross-Country Skiing / Nordic Combined

Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre - Nordic Combined / Ski Jumping

Yongpyong Alpine Centre - Alpine Skiing Technical Events

Alpensia Sliding Centre - Bobsleigh / Luge / Skeleton

Bokwang Phoenix Park - Freestyle Skiing / Snowboard

Jeongseon Alpine Centre - (Para) Alpine Skiing Speed Events

Ice Sports

Gangneung Hockey Centre - Ice Hockey I / Ice Sledge Hockey

Gangneung Oval - Speed Skating

Gangneung Ice Arena - Figure Skating / Short Track Speed Skating

Gangneung Curling Centre - Curling / Wheelchair Curling

Kwandong Hockey Centre - Ice Hockey II

Here are some of the events that already took place.

2017 FIS Ski Jumping World Cup presented by Viessmann

FIS Cross-Country World Cup presented by Viessmann

Viessmann Luge World Cup & Viessmann Team Relay World Cup presented by BMW

Audi FIS Ski World Cup 2017

FIS Snowboard World Cup 2016/17

ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2017

World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2017

BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon 2017

PyeongChang 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup

For results, schedules, transportation etc, you may check it here .

March 9, 2017

Umrah Ramadan 2016 : Jabal Uhud & Jabal Rumat

Previous read: Date Farm & Market

After the date market, we visited Jabal Uhud and Jabal Rumat.

Jabal Uhud was the site of the second battle between the Muslims and the Meccan forces, the Battle of Uhud which took place in 625 AD and Jabal Rumat is a small hill in front of it.

Jabal Uhud

Jabal Rumat

Jabal Rumat got its name because this is where the Prophet (PBUH) had positioned archers during the Battle of Uhud.

The story goes that the Prophet instructed the archers not to move, whether they win or lose during the battle. However, seeing that the battle was going in their favour, and the Quraisy were retreating made some of the archers took things for granted. They left their positions and went for the booty. This is when the Quraisy noticed the unguarded pass in the rear and made a surprise attack.

A number of Muslims were killed, most notably was Hamzah ibn Abdul Mutalib, the Prophet's companion and paternal uncle. The Prophet himself was badly injured in the battle.

We didn't have time to climb Jabal Uhud so I only climbed Jabal Rumat. The hill is only 20m high so it was very quick and easy climb. Still, you need to be careful of the rocks.

From the top of Jabal Rumat, you can see the surrounding clearly - Jabal Uhud, grave of the martyrs (makam shuhada'), and Sayed Al-Shuhada mosque.

Jabal Uhud and makam Shuhada'

new Sayed Al-Shuhada mosque under construction

I learnt so much from this visit, and especially after reading numerous verses of the holy Quran concerning the battle. Interesting and enlightening.

March 8, 2017

Umrah Ramadan 2016 : Date Farm & Market

Previous read : Masjid Quba

Next, we went to visit the date farm. Well it didn't look like a farm to me, more like a date shop surrounded by some date palm trees.

I didn't plan to shop here as it was only our third day! 12 days to go.. Still plenty of time to survey for the best bargain. So I just walked around.. seeing and got to know the many types of dates they were selling.
Just walk and see la cos we were fasting -_- .

My friends told me during non-fasting months you can taste the dates freely cos everything is halal. hehe..

Not sure whether the price at the shop was cheaper than other places but the most popular one, the Ajwa dates was sold around 50 to 80 riyal per kg. Later on at some shops around Madinah and Makkah, I see the prices are around 50 riyal per kg for small, 120 riyal per kg for medium and up to 200 riyal per kg for jumbo sizes.

shopping spree

the many types of dates

Souvenirs for the loved ones back home

Done window shopping. I went outside to see the farm. 

The date palm trees looked like the oil palm trees kan?

almost ripe

the young ones

Finally I just bought the chocolate dates as souvenirs for my friends and colleagues at the shop.

But on the way back to our hotel, we stopped by date markets. More choices and I noticed the prices were cheaper too so I bought a couple of kgs of the Ajwa dates and a few types of nuts.

"Whoever has seven Ajwa dates every morning he will not be harmed on that day by poison or magic."
Sahih Al-Bukhari

So yeah.. let's stock up the Ajwa dates.

March 4, 2017

Umrah Ramadan 2016 : Masjid Quba

On our third day in Madinah, we were brought for Ziarah Luar which consisted of visits to Masjid Quba, Kurma market and Jabal Uhud.

Masjid Quba is situated on the outskirts of Madinah, to the south of Masjid Nabawi. It is one of the oldest mosque in the world. Its first stones were positioned by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself on his emigration from Makkah to Madinah, and later completed by his companions.

The mosque has undergone several renovations and the modern day Masjid Quba is now the second largest mosque in Madinah. It has been expanded to accommodate more than 20,000 worshipers.

The Prophet used to go there every Saturday and prayed two rakaats. He advised others to do the same, saying,
Whoever goes to Masjid Quba with wudhu' from home and prays 2 rakaats, will be rewarded the reward of an Umrah.

So we took wudhu' at the hotel, and started our ziarah day with visit to Masjid Quba.

view from the bus as we approached the mosque

from the parking area

sign on Masjid Quba

the minarets

Since it was Ramadan, the mosque was a bit crowded but Alhamdulillah everything was smooth. 

February 18, 2017

Wow! PyeongChang!

So this blog has been appointed as Wow! PyeongChang! Supporters Malaysia.

2018 Winter Olympic is taking place at PyeongChang, South Korea and I am honored and more than happy to help introduce and promote the event in Malaysia.

화이팅 Hwaiting! 

February 7, 2017

Umrah Ramadan 2016 : The Beautiful Names of Allah Exhibition

There are some exhibitions around Masjid Nabawi but unfortunately I only had the chance to visit one, the Beautiful Names of Allah exhibition.

It's located just outside the mosque at Gate 13.
There are 2 more exhibitions nearby; about Rasulullah at Gate 8 and Quran at Gate 5.

Opening hours during Ramadan.

If you visit during other months, the timing is from 9-2pm and 4-9pm.

Entrance is free so go visit it! There are also guides who speak English and when I was there, there is one who speaks Indonesian. 

Going through the exhibition gave me goose bumps. There are videos and pictures showing the universe, and scenes of natures along with relevant verses of the Quran, making you think of how powerful Allah is.

The walls are filled with 99 names of Allah and it's meaning.
Honestly, I don't remember all 99  T_T  so I took my own sweet time going through them one by one. Must memorize all of them after this!

Got app also!

Rasulullah's advice..

There's nothing to say except Subhanallah when I exited the exhibition. It really strengthen my faith and I strive everyday to be closer to Allah.