By Nick Butler

The 62,000 capacity main stadium for Incheon 2014 has opened ©Incheon 2014A major landmark with four months to go until the start of the Incheon 2014 Asian Games has taken place with the opening of the Asiad Main Stadium, where athletics and cricket, as well as both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be held.

The Stadium, in the western part of the city, will have 61,944 seats and is the centrepiece of a Games consisting of 439 events across 36 sports and disciplines.

The opening of the Stadium was initially envisaged as a celebration of the Games, but following the tragic sinking of the ferry Sewol last month, which left more than 300 people, mostly consisting of schoolchildren, dead or missing, it was adopted into a dedication event.

More than 5,000 residents and civic leaders attended and, following a moment of silence for the victims of the ferry disaster, participants took a brief tour of the stadium before 2,014 specially selected figures cut the ribbon at the facility.

This number, symbolising the year the Games are taking place, was verified by the Korean Records Institute as the largest number of people ever to take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Crowds attending the dedication ceremony marking the opening of the Main Stadium ©Incheon 2014Crowds attending the dedication ceremony marking the opening of the Main Stadium
©Incheon 2014

Following the completion of the Games, the Stadium will be modified into a public cultural centre with a reduced capacity of around 31,000 seats.

"By hosting a successful Asian Games at such a great venue, Incheon will transform into the centre of sports and culture," said Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil.

"I expect enthusiastic participation by our residents to ensure a great competition."

The Games, due to take place from September 19 to October 4, will mark the third occasion the Asian Games has been held in South Korea, following Seoul in 1986 and Busan in 2002.

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