By James Crook

Gwangju Mayor Kang Un-tae received the Universiade flag at the closing ceremony of Kazan 2013August 2 - After receiving the Universiade flag last month at the Closing Ceremony of the 2013 Universiade in Kazan, the spotlight now falls upon Gwangju, who will host the next World University Games in 700 days' time with their sights set on a unified Korean team.

The plans for a unified Korean team for the Gwangju 2015 Summer Universiade fall in line with the peace concept, one of the four EPIC concepts that Gwangju 2015 aspires to achieve, standing for Environment, Peace, IT and Culture.

Gwangju 2015 and the United Nations Office for Sport and Development for Peace (UNOSDP) have signed a joint project agreement, including the formation of a joint Korean team, and official approval was received last month from the International University Sports Federation (FISU) to form a joint team.

Also, UN Special Advisor of Sports, Wilfried Lemke, visited North Korea and was successful in receiving a positive response to his invitation for the participation of North Korean youths at the Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) being held in Gwangju later this year.

Elsewhere, construction of basic infrastructure, such as competition venues and the athletes' village, are so far running to schedule according to Gwangju 2015.

The venues that will be used for 2015 Gwangju include the three newly constructed competition venues, the Gwangju Universiade Swimming Pool, a multi-purpose gymnasium and an archery venue, along with 34 stadiums and 39 training facilities that will be used after renovations, with the gymnasium and swimming venues currently rated at seven and six percent complete respectively, and the athletes village over 20 per cent complete.

aerial view of athletes villageThe eco-friendly Athletes' Village is due to be completed in early 2015

Gwangju 2015 and the Gwangju volunteer centre have been working together since last February with the goal of training 120,000 volunteers, who are seen as vital components for the successful hosting of the Universiade.

They have jointly held volunteer education programs for 30 jobs in 10 different fields, whilst also conducting Universiade language schools from 2010 in languages such as English, Chinese, Japanese, French, and Spanish, giving education to more than 11,000 people.

For the Opening and Closing Ceremony, which will signal the start and finale of the event, Gwangju 2015 plans to receive direction from experts in order to create an elegant and distinctive performance, well-portraying the Korean traditional culture while expressing the unity and friendship of the Universiade, and make it the highlight of the international festival.

In order to accomplish a successful opening and closing ceremony, Gwangju 2015 will appoint an Advisory Committee by the end of this month, choose a general director in October, and select an event production agency by November.

The 2015 Gwangju Summer Universiade is due to be held for 12 days from July 3to 14 2015 and will see around 20,000 participants from 170 countries take part in 21 sports events.

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