Gwangju 2019 vice president and secretary general Cho Young-teck has high hopes for Gwangju's future beyond the World Aquatics Championships ©Gwangju 2019

Gwangju 2019 vice president and secretary general Cho Young-teck wants the city to become a "Mecca" for aquatics in the wake of the International Swimming Federation World Aquatics Championships which are ongoing here.

Speaking at Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center, Cho told insidethegames the city is making its international audience feel like they are at home and that the World Championships offer a platform to greater things.

"We want to make sure Gwangju stays as a swimming city and becomes known as the Mecca of aquatics," said Cho.

"We want to involve and expand the club activities in aquatics and utilise those infrastructures to promote health and leisure sports all around our nation.

"For everyone that is visiting Gwangju right now, including the athletes, media and officials, we want them to feel like they are at home.

"To make that happen we have tried very hard with the accommodation, the food and the amusements, and hopefully when they return to their home country they will take the energy and comfort from Gwangju."

Cho said the hosting of the Championships had not happened without some challenges along the way but he is confident that financial expectations, which he said could not be discussed at this stage, will be surpassed when the competition finishes next Sunday (July 28).

"Challenges happen every day of course," he added.

"In preparing this event we had challenges with finances, facilities and timings, however through communication we feel that we solved those issues and I am happy to hear satisfied feedback from the people here.

"The guides we set for marketing have been reached and we have sold 100 per cent of our ticket sales that we targeted.

"The goals have been met so far and we are expecting a surplus in the finances by the end of the Championships."

A focus on peace echoes across Gwangju and a "human chain" event targeted at pushing talks between North and South Korea was well received in the city earlier this week.

Gwangju 2019 can build a platform for the future of swimming according to Organising Committee vice-president Cho Young-teck ©Getty Images
Gwangju 2019 can build a platform for the future of swimming according to Organising Committee vice-president Cho Young-teck ©Getty Images

Despite work towards a North Korean team competing in Gwangju, Cho was upset that the Organising Committee's efforts had not resulted in a team crossing the border.

He said: "When we were preparing for the event we selected the slogan Dive into Peace and peace was the concept that we have been pushing.

"We had expected to contribute to the peace relations between North and South Korea as well.

"Through a lot of communication and cooperation we had hoped it would work out but unfortunately they weren't able to come due to internal situations that I cannot discuss.

"The human chain event has been great in promoting peace and it is nice that our citizens are getting involved in this message. 

"We can see that the citizens share the values of peace and the participants from abroad have received that message too."

Hosting the World Aquatics Championships represents the latest stage of legacy work being carried out in Gwangju following the Summer Universiade in 2015 and Cho has ambitious plans for the city's future.

"I think our main goal is the nationwide spread of the legacy and infrastructure that was left from the Universiade to this event and going forward to the next one," he said.

"From these Championships we feel that we now have enough people who are capable of hosting events, through officials and volunteers. 

"Whatever event we have in the future we now have the infrastructure and the people involved to support it.

"Gwangju is also known as a culture city and for that reason we want to make sure that we host events that can combine culture and sport."