Gwangju, April 3rd, 2019 – Today marks the 100-day countdown to the FINA World Championships which will take place in Gwangju this summer. On this occasion, the mayor of the city of Gwangju, the mayor of the city of Yeosu and Korea’s most decorated swimmer and Gwangju 2019 ambassador, Park Tae Hwan, gathered to celebrate this important milestone for the Organising Committee, for Gwangju and for Korea.
In exactly 100 days, Gwangju will open its door to the world for the 18th FINA World Championships. More than 15’000 athletes from 200 countries, 3’000 volunteers and thousands of fans and visitors will be traveling to the beautiful city of Gwangju to share their love for aquatics.
Delivering a successful event
The Organising Committee has been working very hard at all levels to make sure that the FINA World Championships will remain forever in people's minds and hearts.
With 100 days to go until the Championships, the Organising Committee has entered its final stage of preparations. Starting today, the city plans to have daily inspections to ensure that all the facilities – Athlete’s Village and competition venues – are functional and completed on time. Over 2000 apartments are planned to be allocated to Athletes, officials and media in the Athlete’s Village. Various test events will be running during the next months and a great number of delegations will have the opportunity to visit Gwangju ahead of the Championships and give their feedback.
Dr. Cho, Secretary General of the Organising Committee, said: “It took many years of hard work and relentless effort from our team to get to where we are today. I can’t emphasize enough our excitement and enthusiasm for hosting this unique event. On behalf of the entire team, we are very much looking forward to welcome the world to Gwangju!”
The Organising Committee, together with the government, has also been working very hard to establish efficient safety and medical measures. It has been decided that 4’000 security agents will be deployed across the city to ensure that festivities happen in total safety. In addition, an agreement with 26 hospitals and 5 medical organisations has been established to ensure the highest quality medical service and respond to any type of emergency that could occur. In total, 150 doctors will be available in 20 different facilities located in competition venues, hotels, Athlete’s Village and training centers.
A special focus was also put on the transportation plan, which has been validated by FINA and will be activated shortly. In total, 420 vehicles – 250 cars, 60 vans and 110 buses – and fast tracks will be created for the athletes, officials and visitors to facilitate their arrival to Gwangju and their commute from the Championships Village to all competition venues throughout the duration of the event.
Also, one of Gwangju 2019’s main goals was to engage with its population. The development of the volunteering programme has been a big achievement for the Organising Committee. With the application process having just ended, the feedback received was extremely positive as close to 9’000 applications were submitted. During the Championships, 3’000 volunteers of all ages will be at work to support various tasks related to the management of media, athletes’ delegations, visitors and competition sites. In addition, 10’000 local supporters have been recruited from social organisations and universities to provide support during the Championships. From now on, the Organising Committee will provide the volunteers with several trainings, mainly focused on hospitality to ensure that the highest quality service is delivered to all participants.
Park tae Hwan, athlete and Gwangju 2019 ambassador, said: “To have the FINA World Championships coming to my home country is a dream becoming true. I have been closely involved in the preparations and the promotion of the Championships at home and across the globe – to all the fans and visitors, I can assure you that this event will be truly spectacular, and I hope to see many of you contributing to its success.”
Riding a wave of peace
The festivities surrounding this fantastic event will be plentiful, starting with the opening ceremony on July 12th, 2019. Gwangju 2019 chose to put water, light and heung – excitement in Korean – at the heart of all the celebrations. The theme "Fountain of Light" is closely linked to the Korean Democratization Movement and the Gwangju Uprising, during which citizens demonstrated for democracy in 1980. Hosting the FINA World Championships is for Gwangju, in the same way as it was for PyeongChang 2018, a strong symbol and a great opportunity for the nation to show its strong commitment to peace, democracy and human rights.
To the same end, the city of Gwangju and the Organising Committee have initiated important discussions with the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korean Ministry of Unification, the Korean Swimming Federation and the International Swimming Federation (FINA) to create a unified South and North Korean team for the Championships.
Showcasing a rich culture
The FINA World Championships is much more than a sporting event – it is also a great occasion to discover a new country, a new culture and a new lifestyle. The city of Gwangju, its region, and Korea at large is incredibly rich in these terms. Gwangju is particularly known as having a thriving art culture – with its numerous galleries and biennale.
A special social and cultural programme has been developed for participants and visitors to fully enjoy Korea throughout the Championships. This includes exhibitions of the most famous Korean artists, cooking demonstrations of traditional dishes, cultural dance shows, musique concerts and many more.
Several tourism packages are currently being prepared for the thousands of visitors that wish to discover this beautiful region.
Yongseok CHOI, Media Support team
The Organizing committee of the 18th FINA World Championships Gwangju 2019