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Dive into Peace: FINA World Championships begins in Gwangju Updated: 2019-07-12 16:14:54 KST

The world's biggest biennial swimming competition has officially kicked off with a splash in South Korea's southwestern city of Gwangju.
The opening ceremony will begin in less than an hour from now, and we have our Kan Hyeong-woo standing by at the scene
Hyeong-woo, what's the atmosphere there like?

Well, Da-eun. It's always an exciting time when Korea is the host of a big international sporting event. Right now, I'm standing in front of Gwangju Women's University Universiade Gymnasium, where the opening ceremony will take place in about an hour.

Now, this is the first time South Korea is hosting the world's biggest international swimming competition.
This year's event in Gwangju has already set records for the most number of participating athletes and countries.
Under the slogan 'Dive into Peace', the world's biggest biennial aquatic competition will run through July 28.

Some twenty-six hundred athletes from almost two-hundred countries are competing in this year's FINA World Championships.
FINA is the French abbreviation of the International Swimming Federation.
So, over the course of seventeen days, aquatic athletes are going to compete for a total of seventy-six gold medals in swimming, diving, high diving, artistic swimming, open water swimming and water polo at five different venues - four in Gwangju and one in Yeosu.

Just in case artistic swimming sounds unfamiliar, it used to be called synchronized swimming or under-water ballet as some might describe.
The FINA World Championships is widely recognized as one of the world's top-five mega-sporting events along with the Summer and Winter Olympics, the FIFA World Cup and the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships.
By hosting the world aquatic championships, South Korea has become the fourth country to have hosted all five major sporting competitions after Germany, Italy and Japan.
Thousands of people have gathered here in Gwangju to show their support for the swimming championship. Let's take a listen.

"We should actively support the athletes coming from all over the world so that they can perform at their best. For me personally, I sincerely congratulate the city of Gwangju for hosting the FINA World Championships and I'm sending my support along with the entire nation of Korea."

"Gwangju is hosting such a big event, and as a Gwangju resident, I hope Korean athletes do well since the competition is taking place in their home country. Let's go, Team Korea "

The opening ceremony, under the theme 'Fountain of Light', will see the participating countries' flags being brought in as the athletes and referees recite the oath of fair play.
That's all from me for now, but we will bring you some more updates and highlights from the opening ceremony.
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