China to host world university sporting event, as Chengdu wins 2021 Summer Universiade bid
The rights to host the 2021 Summer Universiade were handed to the Chinese city of Chengdu during a meeting of the International University Sports Federation's (FISU) steering committee on Thursday.
As the only host candidate, the capital of Sichuan Province in southwest China put forward its submission at the gathering in Braga, Portugal. Ashgabat in Turkmenistan had originally been part of the bidding process in 2014, but subsequently withdrew without explanation.
Bucharest, the capital of Romania, the Colombian city of Cali and a joint bid by Korean capitals Seoul and Pyongyang were also mooted, but none of the interested parties ever officially declared an interest.
The event brings together university students from nations around the world and is organised by the FISU. It is the second largest multi-sport competition in the world, behind the Olympic Games.
An amalgamation of the words ‘university’ and ‘Olympiad’, the Summer Universiade was first held in Rome in 1959, although a number of precursor events preceded it. Often referred to as the ‘World University Games’ or the ‘World Student Games’, it was last held in Taipei in 2017.
Following the presentation, FISU President Oleg Matytsin said: “It was a great honour to have the Mayor of Chengdu, Mr Luo Qiang, and his colleagues join us here in Portugal to share their vision for hosting the 2021 Universiade. Clearly Chengdu is a city with both a rich history and a bright future. We feel very privileged to have the opportunity to be a part of that future, bringing the best student athletes from all over the world to Sichuan’s capital.”
FISU’s executive committee has been informed of the decision and a visit to the city has been scheduled for February 28 and March 1, the latter of which is the day before the 2019 Winter Universiade in the Russian city of Krasnoyarsk.
Before the closure of the meeting, a pre-attribution contract was signed by representatives from both sides. This will allow the Chinese city to begin preparing for the event while the final details are ratified.
“Chengdu is a city that is open to the world,” Mayor Luo told those in attendance. “Chengdu is also a city that has embraced young people and sport, both for new sporting practices and for more traditional events,” he continued.
This will be the third time that mainland China has hosted the Games since the turn of the millennium, after the events in Beijing (2001) and Shenzhen (2011). The 2021 installment is due to take place between August 8 and 19.