The 13th World Firefighters Games kicked off with the opening ceremony on Sunday, September 9th at 5 p.m. in Chungju (충주), South Korea. The last time the Games (also known as WFG) were held in Korea was in 2010 in Daegu. This event is likened to the Olympics as it is a global gathering but the participants are firefighters.
The opening ceremony was held at the recently built Chungju Sports Complex. As it drew closer to commencement there was traffic getting to the stadium. Spectators had already filled up the seats and a queue had formed outside for those still waiting to get inside.
The ceremony began right on time with the Black Eagles, similar to the American Blue Angels, flying in to display their skills and awe everyone present. The show went on for about 15 minutes and the ceremony continued with the introduction of the over 64 countries and its participants.
The opening ceremony last almost 5 hours, consisting of traditional Korean performances, lighting of the official World Firefighters Games (WFG) Flame, and concluding with K-pop performances.
Many people stayed until the very end of this free event to watch the musical performances by K-pop artists Hong Jinyoung, Ailee, Dok2, and NU’EST W. The long evening concluded with various fireworks.
Chungju Sports Complex will serve as the Games Village and the main stadium of the whole event. Despite its name, the sporting events will not only be held in Chungju but its neighboring cities such as Jecheon, Danyang, Cheongju, and many more you can see here. There will be a free non-verbal performance every evening at the main stadium, showcasing most of the popular long-running shows such as Fantastick and JUMP. Other amenities will be located on the west side of the stadium.
The WFG 2018 will be held until the 17th of September. It is a great way to meet people of various backgrounds, not only of the firefighting profession.
Chungju is located in Chungcheongbuk Province of South Korea. It is accessible by bus, train, and airport. It is located about a 90-minute bus ride south of Seoul.