중앙데일리

Aquatic events will be hosted in unusual spots

July 13,2019
While a big Korean city like Gwangju has several Olympic-sized swimming pools, finding a professional high-diving plunge pool in your average Korean metropolis is a bit of a stretch.

To get around this problem, the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships organizing committee had to build three of the six venues for the aquatics championships from scratch.

Top: The high diving pool at Chosun University in Gwangju. Above: The artistic swimming pool at Yeomju Gymnasium in Gwangju. [KIM CHUL-HO]
In order to ensure that all the venues were located as close to each other as possible, the organizing committee had to get inventive as it looked for cost-effective ways to add the new facilities without inconveniencing local residents.

Unfortunately for aspiring football players at Chosun University and Nambu University, their pitches got quite a bit more wet over the last few months.

The starting 11 at Chosun University will find themselves quite literally in deep water if they attempt to turn out for practice over the next month, as the high diving pool has been placed in the middle of their football pitch.

The 6-meter deep (19.6-foot deep) pool has been built above the ground, with a 27-meter high tower next to it for divers to jump off. The iron structure cleverly offers divers an international-class pool without permanently damaging the football field, although the 17-meter wide tank and surrounding stands for spectators mean no balls will be kicked on this pitch for quite some time.

Balls will be thrown over at Nambu University though. Next to a high-diving pool, the water polo pool has also been constructed over the Nambu University football pitches. This 35-meter long, 25-meter wide pool is just 2-meters deep with seating for over 4,000 spectators. The Nambu University football team may not be able to make it out onto this pitch, but at least they’ll be able to watch a ball game take place here.

Unlike the outdoor facilities, Yeomju Gymnasium has undergone some considerable changes.

To build a pool here, organizers had to take up the floor of the gym, dig about 2 meters into the ground and install pools for competition and training. But Gwangju’s handball players need not worry - things might be a bit wet right now, but when the tournament is over the pool will be taken out and the floor put back down.

For now, though, Yeomju Gymnasium’s gym floor is home to a 30-meter long, 20-meter wide competition pool with a depth of 3 meters. It also includes a slightly smaller pool for warm-ups, which is 20-meters long, 15-meters wide and 3-meters deep. This is where artistic swimming, which is as close to gymnastics as any aquatic sport gets, will be held.

These three venues will all be knocked down and the venues returned to their original sports when the championships are over. But it won’t all go to waste - the tanks and the pools will be transported to Japan for use at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics next year.

In addition to building temporary facilities, they’ve also added temporary seats at one of the venues. At the Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center, where swimming and diving competitions will be held, organizers have added an extra 7,255 seats, making room for 10,648 spectators in total.

BY KANG YOO-RIM [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]


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