Ban Ki Moon, who grew up in Chungju and attended both primary and secondary schools there, has been United Nations Secretary- General since 2007. Many of Mr Ban's extended family live in Chungju and he is regarded as a local icon.

FISA president Denis Oswald will officially open the Championships at approximately 20:00 hrs. Oswald, FISA's president since 1989, is standing for the presidency of the International Olympic Committee, the election for which will take place in just over two weeks' time, on 10 September in Buenos Aires.

The opening ceremony will have several high ranking officials in attendance including Mr Yoo Jeong Bok, Korean Minister of Security and Public Administration, Mr Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr Lee Si Jong, Governor of Province of Chungchungbuk-do and Mr Lee Jong Bae, Mayor of Chungju city.

The ceremony will welcome competitors from 75 nations to the World Rowing Championships. This is a record attendance with the previous record being 68 nations (in Bled, Slovenia at the 2011 World Rowing Championships). Entries include six countries that will be competing at the World Rowing Championships for the first time - Qatar, Namibia, Libya, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Vanuatu.

The opening ceremony will include performances by two leading Korean comedians, Jung Chan Woo and Kim Tae Kyun from 'Culttwo'. Both comedians participated in a recent Korean reality television show which saw them learn to row and race.

Participants in the United Nations Youth Leadership Programme, currently in Gwangju for a leadership course, will come on Saturday to Chungju to learn about rowing and rowing's approach to the environment as well as attend the opening ceremony.

This is the second time that the World Rowing Championships has been hosted in Asia and that, along with the record number of nations attending, has translated into increased demand for global television coverage, including MBC in Korea and many leading stations in Europe, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and China.

The Tangeum International Rowing Regatta venue in Chungju is one of the top regatta venues in the world and the World Rowing Championships will be presented under the slogan, 'Clean Water for Life' which aligns perfectly with World Rowing's Clean Water partnership with WWF (the World Wide Fund for Nature).

The 2013 World Rowing Championships will start on 25 August and run until 1 September 2013 at the Tangeum International Rowing Regatta venue with 27 boat classes being contested.

For full race reports, photos and results go to www.worldrowing.com.