By Sun Longfei, Zheng Yi, People's Daily
The 31st International University Sports Federation (FISU) Summer World University Games kicked off in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan province on July 28, marking a new chapter of the story of youth written by young people across the world.
China is getting closer and closer to the FISU World University Games. The country's Beijing and Shenzhen held the games in 2001 and 2011, respectively, presenting China's rapid development to the world. In 2019, Chengdu was officially announced to be the host of the 31st FISU Summer World University Games, becoming the third Chinese city to hold the grand event.
Chengdu is striving to deliver an international sporting spectacle with distinct Chinese characteristics, embodying the spirit of the era, and demonstrating the charm of Sichuan province.
Chengdu has built 13 new gymnasiums and upgraded 36 venues The FISU Games Village comprises both newly constructed apartments and upgraded ones, and its buildings will continue their services after the Games concludes.
Since 2018, Chengdu has aimed to build itself into an international hub for sports events. The experiences and management capability in holding sports events the city has gained over the past years offer strong support for the smooth running of the 31st FISU Summer World University Games. The organizer of the event has been frequently hailed by delegations after their arrivals.
Chengdu has never given up despite the difficulties it met in holding the 31st FISU Summer World University Games, said Brian Carrer, FISU Games Summer Event Manager, adding that he believes the games in Chengdu will be a splendid event.
The FISU World University Games was once nicknamed the "mini Olympics" because of its large scale, large number of participating athletes and high level of competition. However, the concept of the "mini Olympics" is seldom mentioned today, and the FISU World University Games is more like a grand gathering of the young people that builds a platform where they communicate with and learn from each other, and establish friendship.
China's delegation for the Chengdu Universiade includes 411 athletes who will compete in all the 18 sports. Their average age is 22.9 years old.
Among all Chinese athletes, 94.2 percent of them will make their debut at the World University Games, and 83.6 percent are joining an international comprehensive sports event on behalf of China for the first time.
It is believed that it's more important to nurture the young generation's global vision and vitality for competition than to merely pursue athletic performance at the FISU World University Games.
Winning is not the only criterion for success, and success shall also be defined by hard work. Li Xuerui, a member of the Chinese national team of rhythmic gymnastics, practices over 10 hours a day with her team members, just to demonstrate their "strength and beauty" on the carpet.
As a postgraduate student, Li has prepared questionnaires for her research, hoping to communicate with other athletes in non-competing time. The World University Games is a rare opportunity for her to learn, she said.
Basketball games of the Chengdu Universiade will be hosted at the Phoenix Hill Sports Park in Jinniu district of Chengdu. As the home of the Chengdu Rongcheng Football Club of the Chinese Super League, the Phoenix Hill Sports Park is a witness to the enthusiasm of Chengdu citizens for sports.
"Chengdu citizens' enthusiasm for sports has hit an unprecedented level," said Li Yanbo, a volunteer of the Chengdu Universiade.
To make sports a part of people's life is a goal of the Chengdu FISU World University Games. Over the past a few years, Chengdu has built over 5,000 kilometers of fitness trails, along which there are more than 1,700 sites of sports equipment. The city is home to more than 1,500 sports parks, and many idle lands there have been turned into sports fields. Now, sports equipment are seen everywhere in Chengdu and fitness activities are prevalent among Chengdu citizens.
What the Chengdu Universiade brings is not only a pro-sports atmosphere. The young people are creators of a better future. Since Chengdu started preparing for the FISU World University Games, the number of registered young volunteers in the city has increased to 1.39 million from 670,000, and over 6,300 volunteer organizations have been newly established. These young faces demonstrate the vitality, openness and prospects of Chengdu.
Building friendship with sports, gathering strength with cultures and maintaining peace with communication, the Chengdu Universiade will definitely showcase the brand-new image of university sports to the world.