The South Korean organisers for the upcoming world shooting championships on Monday said they were gearing up preparations to host the top event of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF).
The 52nd ISSF World Championship in all shooting events will take place in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province of South Korea, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15.
The organisers expect some 4,500 shooters and coaches from 120 countries to participate in the international competition.
Changwon, some 400 kilometres south-east of Seoul, was named the host city for the 2018 worlds at the ISSF General Assembly in London in 2012.
South Korea is the only Asian country to host the ISSF worlds twice as it previously staged the event in Seoul in 1978.
Changwon’s municipal government established the organising committee for the 2018 ISSF worlds in September 2015 and started renovation of Changwon International Shooting Range, the main venue of the competition.
This was after it injected 35 billion won (US$32.72 million, about N11.78 billion) from March 2016.
The refurbished shooting range was completed last month and, to test its operation, Changwon has been hosting an ISSF World Cup event since Friday.
“The shooting range has become a venue that can host various competitions after we rebuilt most of the facilities,” Jung Goo-chang, deputy mayor of Changwon, said.
“After we host the worlds, we’ll try to have many visitors use the facility.”
As for the accommodation issue, the organizers said they would not build an athletes’ village like the Olympics or other major events.
Instead, they secured some 2,110 rooms in 29 hotels in Changwon and other nearby cities.
The organisers expect North Korea to participate like the world saw at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games earlier this year.
“We’ve recently sent an invitation letter to North Korea following the procedure of the central government,” Lee Byung-gook, the secretary general of the organising committee, said.
“The Seoul government is also interested in North Korean shooters’ participation, and Sports Minister Do Jong-hwan recently mentioned it to North Koreans.”
ISSF President Olegario Rana said at a press conference that he was yet to receive an answer from North Korea.
He however assured that his organisation would use every possible channel to help North Koreans participate.
According to the ISSF, its invitation was sent to Pyongyang last month.
The deadline for the worlds’ registration is Aug. 1.
North Korea is a member of the ISSF and competed at the worlds at Munich in Germany in 2010, and at Granada in Spain, in 2014.
ISSF Secretary General Franz Schreiber said the federation was willing to send its invitation to North Korea again next month if it did not get any response from Pyongyang