There are just over 2 months to go until the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, Korea, and the Organizing Committee is getting ready to host the largest international aquatic competition outside of the Olympics.
Dr. Cho Youngteck, Secretary General of the Committee says, “It goes without saying that our priority is to ensure the impeccable logistics to welcome the athletes and visitors in the best way
possible – our team is working very hard on this.
“I am truly confident that this experience will be unforgettable, and my deepest wish is for the athletes to remember they will always have a place to call home in Korea.”
Although he won’t be competing in the pool, the nation’s most decorated swimmer and Gwangju 2019 Ambassador Park Tae Hwan has been heavily involved in generating excitement and hype for the elite event.
Below is an excerpt from the interview with the World Championships Organizing Committee:
For you, what does it mean to be welcoming the 18th FINA World Championships to your home country? What are you most looking forward to?
The Melbourne 2007 FINA World Championships was, for me, the first time winning a Gold medal at an international competition beyond Asia. The FINA World Championships therefore holds a special place in my career and this is the reason why Gwangju 2019 takes on a special meaning for me.
What I look forward to the most during these Championships is discovering which athletes have improved their performances and what the scores will be. I am also particularly looking forward to seeing our Korean athletes achieving good results in their competitions against other athletes from around the world. I just want to say “Go Korean Swimming Team!”.
What have been your main activities as ambassador for the 18th FINA World Championships in Gwangju until now?
I participate in as many events as I can join and do everything I can to accomplish my role as an ambassador. The appointment ceremony on September 5th, 2017 was a great occasion to capture photos for the promotion of Gwangju 2019, which are now used for brochures. I also participated in the opening of a baseball game at Gwangju Baseball Stadium and met with the citizens of Gwangju. Performing at a Fan Signing event on September 9th, 2017 was also great fun!
Last in date, I participated in the Mascot Figures unveiling ceremony at Seoul Train Station on February 11th, 2019 and the Uniform Fashion show that unveiled the uniforms and medal designs to the public on April 24th. I am active for the promotion of Gwangju 2019 through my social media channels.
This is the first time Korea hosts the FINA World Championships. What special added value can these championships bring to Korea?
Holding this big event in Korea can surely bring a lot of added value. This is the chance for Korea to immerse in the global swimming trend and related technologies, and to establish its position in modern swimming as a sport. I think that Korean athletes will also achieve better results at the Olympic games and Championships if we can develop our country’s swimming environment through this event.
What would you like visitors from around the world to take away from their experience in Korea?
I think Korea shines through many things. Most of all, I’m proud of our peninsula’s nature, its surrounding sea and its mountains which allow us to offer an exceptional trekking environment. The food here also reflects unique Korean taste. I am confident that those who visit Gwangju, Korea will love its nature, culture and food and I hope all the athletes, families and communities will enjoy the beautiful sceneries our region has to offer.