Christmas came early for 22-year-old Gwan-Hyeong Kim today as he won the Korean FIFA Interactive World Cup 2008 qualifying event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Seoul to become the fourth confirmed Grand Finalist.
Since the hugely successful FIFA World Cup™ in 2002 and the more recent FIFA U-17 World Cup this year, the FIWC has continued the presence of exciting FIFA events in Korea and this event certainly did not disappoint.
During this festive season, participants and spectators took the chance to escape from the freezing cold temperatures of winter time in Seoul, and took a break from their last minute Christmas shopping to witness Gwan-Hyeong Kim from Seoul defeat Sung Jun Kim in the final at the first of the Asian FIWC qualifiers.
Gwan-Hyeong comprehensively beat Sung-Jung with a 4-0 victory in the final, and after his victory he said, "I really thought I was not going to get to the final, but to get to the final and win 4-0 was great. I am very confident of winning the Grand Final."
The majority of the contestants were from Seoul; however there was one British representative, Aaron Knight, 22, from Bristol. Having competed in the 2004 FIWC event in London, Aaron thought his chances of competing again in the FIWC had passed when he left England last year and moved to Seoul with his Korean wife. Although he didn't make it past the third round, he was grateful to have the opportunity to compete in the FIWC again and will turn his attention to online qualification.
There was much excitement and anticipation before this qualifier, as it was the first FIWC 08 qualifier to take place outside of Europe this year. Korea is well known for its passionate football fans, and that clearly applies to the world of virtual football as much as it does to the real world game, as the players and fans at the FIWC created a fantastic atmosphere along with some outstanding displays of virtual football from the competitors.
So as the year draws to a close, four of the 32 Grand Finalists have now been confirmed and will hope 2008 brings them even more FIWC success at the Grad Final in Berlin next May. There are plenty more opportunities for others to also compete at the Grand Final in the New Year, as the live qualifiers kick off in the new year with the Indian event taking place on 26-27 January.
To find out how you can be part of this event and any of the remaining qualifiers, please visit the 'Destinations' page on www.FIFA.com/FIWC. Alternatively, if you are unable to attend any of the live qualifiers, you can still compete via the online qualification by registering on the same website.