2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships close Sunday
The closing ceremony, wrapping up the 17-day global aquatics competition that opened in Gwangju on July 12, consisted of two parts - an hour-long cultural performance that began at 5 p.m. at the Asia Culture Center and the official event at the Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center.
The cultural performance was themed “Circle of Life” and featured aspects of water circulating in nature and the southern region’s seasonal wonders.
Ahead of the performance, Gwangju Mayor Lee Yong-sup, who served as the head of the Organizing Committee of the FINA World Championships Gwangju 2019, expressed his thanks to all the athletes and FINA officials. “I appreciate FINA President Julio Maglione and other officials of the International Swimming Federation for cooperating for the success of the Gwangju championships. I also express my deep gratitude to all athletes from across the world and the Korean people for their support,” Lee said.
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said in his congratulatory address that all Koreans and the entire world were pleased and moved by the passion and fair competition by athletes.
“The wave of peace has risen up from Gwangju to the other parts of the world during the FINA World Champions Gwangju 2019, and I’m very pleased at its successful conclusion,” the prime minister said, thanking all Gwangju citizens and visitors for making the championships an outstanding event.
The cultural performance, taking a cue from the atmosphere and tastes of four seasons, expressed in “Song of Mount Seongsan,” an ancient poem, depicted the life of a traditional singer against the backdrop of spring, summer, fall and winter landscapes.
Members of the Gwangju City Ballet and other artists born in the city or living in the southwestern province took part in the performance. The spring scene featured Nam Mi-sun, a famous “haeseum” (two-stringed fiddle) player who was born in Gwangju in 1980, and Lee So-yeon, who appeared in the fall scene, is a member of the National Changgeuk Co. of Korea and starred in the musical “Seopyeonje.” Two children who performed in the spring and summer scenes were selected through auditions.
A performance by South Korea’s renowned “pansori” (traditional narrative singing) singer Ahn Sook-sun in the winter scene was the highlight of the cultural performance. Electric guitarist Yang Ji-wan put on a joint performance with the pansori singer. The performance was directed by Korean dance expert Guk Su-ho, Choi Tae-ji, head of the Gwangju City Ballet, and lighting director Lee Sang-bong.
A farewell dinner was held at the Asia Culture Center after the performance, with about 200 dignitaries, including Prime Minister Lee, Mayor Lee and FINA officials in attendance.
The official closing ceremony event kicked off at 10:40 p.m. at the Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center after the finals.
The event began with the entry of the 194 national flags of the participating countries, followed by the lowering and transferring of the championships flag, the introduction of the next host city and the declaration of closure. The next FINA World Championships will take place in Fukuoka, Japan, in 2021.