By Duncan Mackay in Durban

Kim_Yu-Na_arrives_in_Durban_to_meet_Dream_Programme_graduateJuly 2 - Kim Yu-Na was the first high-profile member of the delegations bidding for the Winter 2018 Olympics and Paralympics to arrive here ahead of the final vote when she was greeted by South African teenager, Tamarah Jacobs, a graduate of the "Dream Programme", a key part of Pyeongchang's campaign.

The Olympic skating champion was given an enthusiastic welcome by Jacobs, 18, who participated in the Dream Programme - the main legacy of Pyeongchang's failed bid to host the 2010 Games - in 2005.

Jacobs had never previously experienced winter sports until she became a participant of the scheme, Pyeongchang's promise to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to help expand interest and participation in winter sports across the world, when she was 13 and was taught to skate by South Korean coaches.

Pyeongchang hope that the programme will help give them the edge over their rivals Annecy and Munich when the IOC Session votes next Wednesday (July 6) on which city should host the Games.

Jacobs, now a university student, has continued to skate and coaches children here. 

"Going to Pyeongchang in 2005 for the Dream Programme was one of the best experiences of my life, and it opened my eyes to the wonderful world of winter sports," said Jacobs.

"The Programme gave me and so many other children around the world where winter sports aren't available the chance to learn and practice my winter sports skills.

"I remember watching Kim Yu-Na win [the Olympic] gold [medal] in Vancouver [in 2010] and it was so amazing to meet her today in my home town of Durban.

"I really hope that the Winter Games go to Pyeongchang in 2018 and it will be great to go back there again when it is an Olympic city."

Kim has become a key figure in Pyeongchang's campaign having devoted nearly two months now to travelling around the world to help promote it.

"I remember being a little girl watching figure skating and feeling so lucky that I had incredible local winter sports facilities where I could train and practice every day," she said after meeting Jacobs.

"There are so many children around the world who aren't as fortunate to live where winter sports are available so I'm very proud that Pyeongchang's Dream Programme offers these young people the chance to have amazing winter sports experiences."

Since 2004, the Dream Programme has provided 935 children from 57 countries the opportunity to experience winter sports for the first time.

More than 200 of those children have come from 12 African nations and 29 specifically from South Africa.

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