Things to do at FINA championships

By Kim Young-won
  • Published : Jul 12, 2019 - 15:32
  • Updated : Jul 12, 2019 - 15:32

GWANGJU —Water sports competitions are not the only attraction during the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships, being held July 12-28. There are a wide range of sideline events for spectators and visitors.

Upon entering the gate of Nambu University, the main FINA championships venue, visitors will encounter what is called Market Street, featuring an IT showroom, food trucks and cultural performances.

Engineers from telecom firm KT monitor a smart flight cockpit connected to network airship Skyship at an ICT showroom set up at the arena complex for the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju City, Friday. (Kim Young-won / The Korea Herald)

At the IT showroom, visitors can get hands-on experience of 5G networks, including autonomous driving technology, and 5G-enabled airships.

Visitors can try out the latest 5G-enabeld services, such as a smart cockpit for autonomous cars and virtual reality and augmented reality games developed by telecom giant KT and state-run IT agencies. They can also watch livestreaming videos of the city views captured by airships hovering above the arenas and other venues in the city, and have a cup of coffee prepared by an AI-powered robot barista.

Outside the IT experience pavilion, a fleet of food trucks are lined up along the main street, offering seasoned chicken skewers, beer and coffee, among other things, for sports fans who might feel hungry and thirsty after rooting for their favorite athletes.

Visitors can enjoy music and dance performances by artists on an outdoor stage set up right next to the food court area.

The Nambu University Street Market will be closed from July 29 to Aug. 4, according to the organizing committee.

Volunteers try virtual reality-based zip line at an ICT showroom set up at the arena complex for the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju City. (Kim Young-won / The Korea Herald)

“I feel excited to watch the international water sports competitions in person,” said Kwon Mi-seon, 54, who came from Seoul to watch the diving finals on the first day.

It takes some two hours from Yongsan Station, Seoul to Gwangju Songjeong Station on high-speed train KTX. Those who fly into Korea via Incheon International Airport can take a KTX train from the airport to the host city of the sports event. The Gwangju-bound KTX operates four times a day from Incheon, while the Incheon-bound KTX runs three times a day.

While most sporting competitions and sideline events take place in Gwangju, the open water swimming events will be held at the nearby coastal city of Yeosu, South Jeolla Province.

To get to Yeosu, visitors can either take a domestic flight from Gimpo International Airport, Seoul or KTX to Yeosu from Yongsan Station. Taking a train is the most convenient way to travel from Gwangju to Yeosu.

According to the FINA organizing committee, 2,639 athletes from 194 countries are vying for 76 gold medals across six disciplines and 76 events.

By Kim Young-won (