By Lee Kyoung Mi and Kim Young Shin
Photos = The Organizing Committee of the 18th FINA World Championships Gwangju 2019
Preparation in Gwangju is going well to host the 18th FINA World Championships slated for July 12-28.
The biennial competition hosted by FINA, the Switzerland-based global governing body of water sports, is considered one of the world’s top five sporting events along with the Summer and Winter Olympics, the FIFA World Cup of soccer and the IAAF World Championships in Athletics.
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon on Feb. 19 said, “Korea has successfully hosted the Summer Olympics, the FIFA World Cup (of soccer), the IAAF World Championships in Athletics and the Winter Olympics, and this will ensure the best preparation for the upcoming FINA World Aquatics Championships.”
In a meeting on providing support for international sporting events at the Government Complex-Seoul, he also mentioned that North Korea is also invited to the event, saying, “Participation by North Korean athletes will let people ‘dive into peace,’ just like the slogan of this event.”
Around 15,000 athletes from some 200 countries are expected to compete in Gwangju in water sports including swimming, high diving, artistic swimming and water polo.
Following the 17-day FINA tournament, the World Master Championships for amateur athletes will run from Aug. 5-18 in Gwangju and Yeosu.
The Organizing Committee of the 18th FINA World Championships Gwangju 2019 said preparation for the event is going smoothly such as recruiting and assigning staff, providing support for foreign athletes entering Korea and assisting media personnel. The committee is also reinforcing cooperation with related organizations to effectively promote the event worldwide.
Gwangju Metropolitan City said construction of tournament facilities including sport arenas and the athletes’ village will be completed in May, adding that accommodations and restaurants in the area are undergoing checks for quality control. The operating hours of bus-only lanes and intra-city buses for foreign visitors will also be extended during the event period.