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Home News Stories from Chengdu – Pin trading, a competition unto itself

Stories from Chengdu – Pin trading, a competition unto itself

Summer Games 31 August 2023

“They will remind me of the Games”

Large-scale sporting events all have their own traditions.
At the FISU World University Games, one of the most renowned is pin trading, which over the years has become an essential part of each edition.

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Tuesday, August 8 marked the end of the Chengdu FISU Games. It was also one of the final occasions to bump into fellow journalists at the Main Media Centre (MMC).

During the Games, the MMC served as a second home for reporters and broadcasters.

Of course, it was the site of official media events such as press conferences. But in reality, it was much more. Journalists could also eat meals, hop on shuttle buses to various venues, and even do some shopping.

The official store of the FISU Games was located at the ground floor of the MMC. Over the past two weeks, traffic at the store was impressive. Empty shelves over the last few days suggested that visitors were active buyers.

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With unique postcards, medal replicas, books, bracelets, the shop had all the FISU Games merchandise one could possibly need. But one type of product was particularly in demand – pins.

“Official FISU Games pins are definitely our bestsellers. We have in our offer 18 of them, each limited,” said Lou Qing, a member of the MMC store staff.

“Of course we don’t sell only pins here. At our stores there are also other creative and exclusive products. But pins are 100% the top choice.”

Collecting pins is a huge tradition at FISU Games. Athletes, journalists, volunteers, and everyone else who has an accreditation buy or trade them throughout the event.

“This model is very good looking. Each panda is doing a different sport, and each pin also has a different venue in the background,” said Kou Minfang, a Sichuan Daily reporter, during a trip to the store. 

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“We also see a lot of Sichuan characteristics there, and that is why I want to buy them for my friends. This is the way I can share my University Games experience with them.”

For many of the store’s visitors, particularly those from Chengdu, pins are a very special product.

“This is, after all, a limited badge for the Chengdu University Games. I treat it as an exclusive souvenir of our media experience,” said Zhang Yifei, from Xinhua News Agency.

But at the core of collecting pins is the trading.

“People keep asking me why I have so many of them. Well, I just go around and ask for them. I also could exchange them with other people,” said Zeng Jiaqi, a member of the organizing committee who worked at the FISU Games Village.

“But not all of my pins are for trading. For instance, the pin of Hua Mulan. It presents the legendary folk heroine from Chinese history. I would never exchange it for anything else,” she added.

Written by Piotrek Przyborowski, FISU Young Reporter