Gwangju given green light ahead of 2015 event
With less than three months until the opening ceremony of the 28th Summer Universiade, host city Gwangju passed an inspection by the FISU Universiade Supervision Committee (CSU) with flying colours.
The three-day CSU inspection was to assess the final preparations of the 2015 Gwangju Summer Universiade, which welcomes 12,200 university athletes from 170 nations to take part in 21 sports and 272 events from 3rd to 14th July.
Nineteen functional areas - including immigration support, accreditation, transportation, competition venues and the Athletes' Village - were looked at by the CSU, whose delegates were impressed with the newly built venues, in particular the Nambu University Aquatics Centre and Kwangju Women's University Universiade Gymnasium.
"After several meetings and venue inspections, I am confident that Gwangju will host a successful Universiade,” CSU chairman Kemal Tamer said. He called for more general tests and simulations to be conducted with all functional areas at least one week prior to the opening ceremony.
After a detailed visit of the facilities, Mr Tamer said he was "satisfied" with the state of the Athletes' Village. "Preparations for the Universiade Village are satisfactory," he said. "The facilities and rooms are clean and well put together for over 12,000 athletes and officials around the world who plan to participate in the Gwangju Universiade."
The FISU delegation also underlined the importance of safety and security, while highlighting the need for strong communication from the host nation. "Security for drop off points in the Universiade Village should be strengthened," the FISU spokesman said in a statement.
"In addition, the language services that are provided during the accreditation process should be superb: athletes and officials do not want to waste time on their first day in Gwangju due to language barriers."
GUOC secretary general Kim Yoon-suk was pleased with the findings of the CSU and promised to deliver a successful games. "I would like to thank the CSU and FISU secretariat for their support and constructive feedback. Next month we will be better prepared. In July, we will be perfectly prepared," he said.
Representatives from the 2017 Taipei Universiade Organizing Committee were also present at the inspection as part of their own preparations for the 29th Universiade Games in two years.
Following an unsuccessful bid to win the 2013 Games, Gwangju will become the third South Korean host of the Universiade after Muju and Jeonju, in the North Joella Province, co-hosted the winter edition in 1997, and Daegu held the summer event in 2003.
Located 330 kilometres south of the South Korean capital of Soeul, Gwangju beat the cities of Edmonton (Canada) and Taipei (Taiwan) to host the 2015 Summer Games.
The Gwangju Universiade organising committee has labelled the Games an "ecoversiade" because of the lack of new constructions needed to host the events. Of the 70 facilities to be used during the Games, only three have been built from scratch according to the organising committee.
"The aim of the Gwangju Universiade is to be a low-cost, high-efficiency event that is economically and environmentally friendly," the organizing committee said in a statement.
Before the Games get under way on Friday 3rd July a number of test events will be held to ensure that the new and updated facilities are able to function fully in a competition environment.
Between 27th April and 30th June an estimated 13 competitions in 16 different sports will be held at various facilities in preparation for the Gwangju Universiade.
North Korea also plans to take part in this year's event with a 108-member delegation. As well as 12,200 athletes, a global staff force of 20,000 is expected to be on call during the Games.
To ease transportation concerns, there will be an increase in high-speed trains between Incheon International Airport and Gwangju, with a journey time of two hours and 10 minutes.
Over 150 government officials, sports figures, and citizens attended this week's CSU briefing at Gwangju, including the President of Republic of Korea, Park Geun-hye, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Kim Jongdeok, Minister of Unification, Hong Yong-pyo, Vice Minister of National Defence, Baek Seung-joo, GUOC Co-Presidents Kim Hwang sik and Yoon Janghyun.