Wednesday, August 1, 2012

NEWS: Schedule change creates ticketing snafu for Mongolian fans

Originally posted on USA TODAY on July 31, 2012
By Traci Watson

A ticketing snafu has left many Mongolians fans without a chance to watch one of their countryman compete at the Olympics. By Jeff J Mitchell, Getty Images
LONDON -- Unhappiness with the ticket resale system for the London Games reached the boiling point Monday afternoon after hundreds of Mongolians, some who'd traveled here from Mongolia, learned that a schedule change meant they could not see the match of boxer and national hero Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg.

Some 300 Mongolians came to the ExCeL Center Monday afternoon in hopes of seeing Uranchimeg's bout, originally scheduled for 1:15, said Tuya Deleg of Ulaan Bator, Mongolia. But the fight had been moved to Monday night, and fans found themselves unable to exchange their tickets at the ExCeL ticket booth.

"All these people have bought tickets for no reason," said Tuya Ariuka, a Londoner of Mongolian descent who had a shouting match with a ticket manager. Officials "are telling us to go watch (anyway). Why? We're here to support a particular athlete from our own country."

Several police officers were speaking to the Mongolians, clearly trying to calm them.

A half-hour later, the ticketing manager returned to tell a crowd of 30 angry Mongolians that they would get their tickets changed after all. A cheer went up from the throng.

But that was no consolation for the 200 or so Mongolians who had taken the advice to enter the arena and watch some other country's athletes compete.

"It's our dream" to watch Uranchimeg in London, said Deleg. "It's once in a lifetime."

Word List:
  • snafu: a mistake or a problem that prevents you from finishing something
  • "boiling point": the moment when a situation becomes more serious or dangerous because people start to feel very angry
  • throng: a large crowd of people