CHENGDU: The Chengdu FISU World University Games concluded on Tuesday as the hosts, the Chinese delegation, finished with 103 gold, 40 silver and 35 bronze medals to sit at the top of the medal table, setting a new record for the best results for China at a FISU Games.
The world-leading Chinese university swimming team has been the biggest contributor for China’s medal haul at the Games, as the Chinese swimmers totaled 18 gold and two bronze medals.
Besides the big stars such as multiple-time gold medalists Qin Haiyang, Zhang Yufei and Li Bingjie, names such as five-time National Para Games gold medalist Peng Huidi, who faces a lasting hearing issue, also took the stage.
The Central South University student, who had to rely on a visual confirmation at the start of the race, compared to her opponents who dive into the pool after hearing the starting horn, is a slow starter in every race.
However, she had successfully improved her result in the 1,500 meters freestyle by a stunning 32.3 seconds.
Beyond the outstanding performances delivered by the Chinese delegation, which consisted of a total of 411 athletes participating in all 18 events, the tournament has a lot of memorable moments.
FISU Acting President Leonz Eder said Tuesday that Chengdu has really made all dreams come true as he reviews the Games.
“What we have witnessed here in Chengdu is state of the art. It’s the best we can have. It’s really fantastic for the athletes, for the spectators, for everybody,” he told reporters. “There’s nothing to complain about.”
FISU Secretary-General Eric Saintrond believes that hosting the Chengdu Universiade has helped foster China’s global image as many young people come to visit the city.
“What you see and hear is different from what people tell you,” Saintrond said. “Many people have never been to Chengdu and to China.”
As for the impact of the FISU Games on the youth, Acting President Eder affirmed that the Games showcased the importance of communication, understanding, and learning from different cultures.
He asserted that fostering open dialogue and embracing diverse viewpoints is key to creating a better world.
“In some parts of the world, people stopped talking to each other, but the young generation, they don’t know these borders, these frontiers,” Eder told the Global Times.
“They talk to each other, they learn their own stories, they tell their own stories, they start to communicate, and these are the students, because the students, they speak different languages, and they have no shy to meet other people, and this is really what we believe is needed to make a better world,” Eder said of the young people of the world.
“Don’t think that your opinion is the only one in the world. We have so many different opinions, different cultures, based on different histories, not one is better than the other, but go and talk to each other, learn from each other, and this is the basic for creating a better world.”
FISU Acting President Leonz Eder (left) and Secretary-General Eric Saintrond hold the flag at the FISU flag handover ceremony on August 8, 2023.
The Chengdu FISU Games, the first international multi-sport tournament held in West China, have also become a platform for athletes worldwide to learn about the diverse Chinese culture.
The cultural fair is among the most popular destinations for athletes every night after their competitions.
“One of the pillars of FISU is education, culture, and sport. We do not just organize sport event. For us it is important to show the young people to give the opportunity to discover the culture, the richness of every place where we are going,” Eder said.
Saintrond highlighted that after the two postponements of the originally scheduled 2021 event, the Universiade was able to provide more opportunities to students to learn about China.
Saintrond said China hosting an open Universiade, rather than in a closed loop like Tokyo Olympics and Beijing 2022 due to COVID-19, is of much significance.
“It was not only to open the [Games] Village and allow the people to go out of the Village. It is to open the door to the Chinese culture. That has been extremely important for students,” he said. “The sports competition is one thing, but the people have to meet each other, have to make friends to get to learn the culture and the history of other nations.”
As Chengdu moves forward to host future sports events, such as the 2025 World Games, venues and facilities as well as the volunteers and staff for the FISU Games are likely to be involved again.
“These facilities will be used not only for university students, but also for the citizens of Chengdu and the province,” Eder said.
“With these fantastic facilities, you can host future games, whether it’s world championships or the World Games …. It’s important to use all these venues.”