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Celebrating women in university sport

5 March 2020

International Women’s Day is around the corner and even though we believe that every day is women’s day, this gives us an opportunity to celebrate some wonder women who have really made waves in university sport.


“At FISU we really believe that today’s stars are leaders of the future,” says Rosaura Mendez, Chair of the FISU Gender Equality Committee. “And we celebrate the International Women’s Day, because it is our continuous endeavour to create greater spaces of equality for women and to ensure balanced and fair development of all the young people involved in university sport.”



Sonja Mörsky

Sonja Mörsky Photo WUC Ski Orienteering 2020What we love even more than university athletes is university champions who give back to their sport and to the university sports movement. Sonja Mörsky is one such person. She is part of the Organising Committee of the upcoming World University Ski Orienteering Championship in Rovaniemi, Finland. Mörsky is a world university champion herself, having won gold at the first WUC Ski Orienteering held in Tula, Russian Federation in 2016.


Sonja is studying at the Santasport Lapland Sports Institute, working towards becoming a sports instructor. Organizing sports events is part of her studies and the 2020 WUC Ski-Orienteering offered her a great possibility to work in the sport she loves.


“When I got the chance to work for my own sport, I was excited and really wanted to use this opportunity to the fullest” says Sonja.



Dutee Chand

Dutee ChandIndian sprint queen Dutee Chand recently broke her own national record with a time of 11.22 seconds in the 100m dash. She is truly taking Indian athletics to new heights and we saw a glimpse of that at the Napoli 2019 Summer Universiade when she won India’s first ever gold in athletics at a World University Games.


The reaction in India was enormous and made Dutee a household name. She is not just a champion on the track but a champion for change and social issues as well. Having suffered discrimination for hyperandrogenism herself, Chand has been a very vocal supporter of Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya and has taken on the orthodox moral police by being India’s first openly gay athlete.


It takes courage and we salute her for that.



Naomi Ma

Naomi Jie Yao MaAnother woman we are celebrating who was also at the Napoli 2019 Summer Universiade is Jie-Yao Naomi Ma, who was was working quietly and diligently behind the scenes, bringing the world some of the best stories of the Universiade. Ma, who hails from Taipei City, was part of the FISU Young Reporters Programme at the Kazan 2013 Summer Universiade and has been closely involved with the university sports movement ever since.


After a few years at the Chinese Taipei University Sports Federation, she has now earned a name for herself as a broadcast journalist.


She was handpicked to work with FISU Media during the Italian Universiade last summer and she juggles her passion for work with the demands of being a young mother to a delightful toddler. A multi-tasking wonder woman in every way and one among a bunch of great female professionals that FISU Media works with!



Trinity Esprit

Trinity EspritRarely does a defender earn the most coveted title of MVP in football, but Trinity Esprit’s speed and resilience at the inaugural FISU University World Cup – Football was such that there was often an invisible wall protecting the Canadian goal throughout the two-week event in Jinjiang, People’s Republic of China last year. Esprit’s efforts paid off as the University of Ottawa won the tournament. Even more impressive was the fact that the first-year student was balancing training and matches with frenetic studying because she had exams immediately after.


“When we go back, I have five exams to take in five days,” the Sociology major and player of the tournament had said to us back then.  “That’s why I’m trying to study as much as I can right now!”


Excelling on the field and in the classroom makes her a top woman in our book.



Kim Alang

Kim Alang 1South Korean short track speed skating star Kim Alang was FISU’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2019 and for good reason. Kim, already a double Olympic gold medallist, was recognised for her outstanding achievements on the university sports field; she has participated in three successive Winter Universiades and won gold at all three: Granada 2015, Almaty 2017 and Krasnoyarsk 2019.


Accepting her award during a glittering ceremony at the 4th FISU Gala in Turin, Italy, last November, Kim Alang said “I am really honoured to be here. I cherish all my Universiade experiences and I look forward to improving even more as an athlete.”


Kim is a perfect example of how the World University Games can be a stepping-stone to Olympic success. Moreover, despite her stardom, she is always humble and looking to improve. A fitting subject to top off our Women’s Day tribute.