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21 November 2018 | in FISU Athletes, Athletics, Summer FISU World University Games

Canadian sprinter still wowed by support from Taipei fans in 2017

 “The energy over there was unreal”

James Linde of Canada (left), ebullient after the athletics 200 metre final at the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade, is flanked by France's Jeffrey John and Slovakia's Jan Volko on the awards stand

18 months after his silver medal performance at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei, Canadian sprinter James Linde still remembers the passion and enthusiasm of the crowd.



“The energy over there was unreal,” he said in a phone interview from Coquitlam, British Columbia, where he lives and trains.



To qualify for the Games, Linde, who competed for the Trinity Western University Spartans, had to place well at a national tryout in Ottawa a month before the Universiade.



“It was right after I finished my 200 metres that I was able to guarantee myself a spot on the team,” he said. “The guy who was putting the team together came over to me afterwards.”



Prior to the 2017 U Sports track and field season, Linde had the specific objective of representing Team Canada at the competition.



“When I learned that I was capable of making it on the team, I set out to do that,” he said. “I was pretty excited.”



Linde, who studied geography, had previously represented Canada at the 2014 U23 North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Championships in Kamloops, B.C. and was thrilled about the chance to don the red and white again.


“I was pretty excited to be able to put on the team Canada gear again,” he said.

Six weeks before heading to Taipei, Linde had one of the best meets of his career. Competing on his home track at the Harry Jerome Classic in Coquitlam, he won the 200 metres and finished second in the 100-metre race, 0.25 seconds behind Olympian Andre De Grasse.



Beyond competing at one of the highest levels of sport, the Universiade served another purpose as well.



“I’d never left North America before,” he said. “The opportunity to go to Asia and see another continent was really exciting.”



Linde’s first experience abroad didn’t disappoint. In addition to the competition, he took advantage of his surroundings and visited tourist attractions. “I got to walk around Taipei a bit, see the Taipei 101 Tower, and try some food on the street,” he said. “We also went to the night markets and the temples.”


As Universiade fever consumed Taipei City, Linde became an attraction in his own right.


“The fans in Taiwan treated you as if you were almost celebrity status,” he said. “They were lining up to get photos with us and wanting to talk to us any chance they got. It was a lot of fun.”


Linde was competing in the 100 and 200 metre athletics events. Following a disappointing first race, he altered his mindset.



“The 100 metres is my weaker event,” he said. ”I was really nervous and had a below-average heat.



“Afterwards, I felt like I had been a bit hard on myself. So for the 200 metre race, I went out with my usual attitude and just had fun with it. During the final, I wasn’t nervous. I had a big smile on my face and was just running around the track.”



Linde is now pursuing a career in policing while continuing to compete in regional track meets. Still, the fond memories of his experience at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei won’t soon be forgotten.



“It certainly turned out better than I expected, that’s for sure,” he said. “The entire experience was awesome.”



By U-Media Reporter Salim Valji, a FISU Young Reporter alumni from the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade