International University Sports Federation (FISU) President Claude-Louis Gallien has arrived in Gwangju ahead of this Summer’s Universiade, due to begin on Friday (July 3) and runs through to July 14.
Gallien touched down at Incheon airport and joins FISU secretary general Eric Saintrond, who has been in Gwangju since last Wednesday (June 24) and attended the Opening Ceremony of the Athletes Village two days later.
FISU delegates will take part in meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday (June 30 and July 1) concerning the readiness of Taiwan, due to stage the 2017 Summer event and the Kazakh city of Almaty, a candidate for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and host city of the 2017 Winter Universiade.
Gallien’s arrival was greeted warmly by members of Gwangju 2015 but comes amid concerns over the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Both Gwangju 2015 and South Korean Government are taking precautions to ensure the safety of everyone in Gwangju and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn recently held a meeting in Seoul to discuss measures aimed towards supporting the event, with MERS, which has claimed the lives of 30 people, a key area of conversation.
It is not yet known how much of an impact the disease will have on the Universiade, and the Gwangju 2015 have reiterated their strong stance on the matter, saying they will establish special clinics to serve not only athletes but also visitors to the city for the event.
The World Health Organisation and FISU Medical Committee are also set to have a strong presence throughout for safety reasons.
The outbreak of the coronavirus led to a number of delegations questioning whether they should participate at the Universiade, and at one point Hong Kong was considering withdrawing its competitors.
It follows the announcement last week that North Korea are boycotting the Universiade in protest against the opening of a United Nations office in Seoul monitoring the human rights record of its capital Pyongyang in a tumultuous build-up to the 11-day sporting event.
The event itself will see around 13,000 athletes from 170 countries descend on the South Korean city.
June 2015: South Korean Prime Minister holds meeting to discuss MERS precautions for Gwangju 2015 as Athletes' Village opens
June 2015: Gwangju 2015 host media day in Athletes' Village prior to official opening
June 2015: North Korea to boycott Gwangju 2015 over opening of human rights office
June 2015: Gwangju 2015 seeks to assure safety of Summer Universiade participants amid MERS outbreak in South Korea
June 2015: Hong Kong athletes to decide on Gwangju 2015 participation amid MERS outbreak in South Korea