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20 December 2013 | in Winter Universiade, Multisports

A Veteran of the Universiade



TRENTO - There are few people who can claim to have gone to around 40 Universiades, both summer and winter. There are even fewer who have done this with two countries. Valentin Gavrilenko of Ukraine has done this, having attended Universiades both with his country and the former USSR.

“I am an eternal student,” says Gavrilenko, “I hope I will be able to go to many more games. I was a student, played for my country in volleyball and then worked for the Student Union of Sports ever since.”

His first Universiade was in Turin in 1970, and he has many memories from over the years. “The Universiade reaches a higher and higher level each year,” he explains. “The first one I went to really was not very impressive. Now the level is probably ten times better.”

Of course the difference between working for the Soviet Union and Ukraine is huge. Before the fall of the USSR, his job was considerably more difficult as the competition was more political. Now, however, the situation is how it should be and concentrates on sport.

It has not been an easy road to the Universiade for the Ukrainian team this time round. Due to unrest in Ukraine, the funds necessary for the team were not available. Thankfully, due to help from FISU, the team managed to come and have recently accessed funds to pay for their participation in the Universiade. Out of all the people to be leading the team through difficulty, Gavrilenko is certainly one of the best equipped.


Toby Fisher, FISU Young Reporter