FISU Completes Evaluation As Gwangju Awaits Moment of Truth on May 31
By Kim Tong-hyung
In their own version of Groundhog Day, inspectors judging Gwangju's bid for the 2013 Universiade were sent off in the same way they arrived in the southwestern city, with thousands of screaming spectators gathering at the Gwangju Airport to show their support.
Some of them shouted ``Welcome Pisoo (FISU)" just out of habit, as students and citizens gathered in the streets and sports venues around the inspection route to display their enthusiasm for the hosting of the world's second-largest sporting event.
The six-member evaluation commission, led by FISU Vice President Stefan Bergh, completed their assessment of Gwangju Thursday and said it came away impressed with the bid's strong concept.
``We are always focusing on whether the candidate city has a strong sports concept and Gwangju convinced us of that," said Bergh.
Gwangju is one of the three candidate cities looking to host the 2013 Universiade, or the world university games, the others being Vigo, Spain, and Kazan, Russia. The Universiade is the second-largest sporting event in size, trailing only the Olympics, involving more than 10,000 athletes from about 170 countries.
The inspectors have already toured Vigo and Kazan is next on the calendar before issuing a final report on the three candidate cities ahead of the May 31 FISU vote in Brussels, Belgium.