By James Crook

flag-handover022July 19 - Gwangju 2015 has received the International University Sports Federation (FISU) flag at the closing ceremony of the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, as the South Korean city looking to "Light Up Tomorrow" in two years time.

More than 20,000 athletes and officials are expected to compete at Gwangju 2015, 12,200 of whom will be housed at the athletes' village, which is being constructed with the aim to achieve urban regeneration by redeveloping obsolete apartment blocks.

Three out of the 76 venues will be newly built, including the aquatics centre, which will be used for the 2019 Aquatics World Championships should Gwangju be awarded the right to host the event, a multi-purpose gymnasium, and an archery range, while the remaining venues will be existing facilities with renovations.

In order to recruit 120,000 volunteers for the event, who will act as civilian diplomats and as the face of the Gwangju Universiade, volunteer training is being operated by securing partnerships with local universities and volunteer centres.

In addition, the Universiade Foreign language schools, Junior interpreter contests, and English debate competitions, will allow for the recruiting of 20,000 interpreting volunteers.

Last year, Gwangju 2015 signed a joint agreement with the United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) and are currently working together on seeking peace in the Korean peninsula through sport, with plans for a united Korean team for the Games currently being mooted.

The countdown to Gwangju 2015 officially began with the official flag handover ceremony at Kazan 2013

UNOSDP and Gwangju are hosting the international mentoring programme, EPICS Forum, and the Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) to nurture future leaders of the next generation in collaboration this August.

London 2012 Olympians Yang Hak-Seon, Son Yeon-Jae, Ki Bo-Bae, and Choi Eun-Sook are just some of the athletes helping to promote the Games and inspire people to get involved with ambassadorial roles.

Gwangju sent a 33-strong delegation to Kazan 2013 to observe the preceding Universiade, and shared information in 35 operation-related fields through seminars and on-site visits to facilities in the hope of learning from the successes and shortcomings on show in Kazan.

"The countdown for the Gwangju Universiade has officially begun with the Universiade flag handover," Gwangju 2015 secretary general Kim Yoon-Suk said.

"In order to make the Gwangju Universiade the most successful event in history, the committee will be putting their full efforts in the organisation and preparation for the global event."

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