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07 April 2018 | in World University Championships, Cross-Country

Tradition and innovation combine during WUC Cross-Country opening ceremony

ST.GALLEN, SWITZERLAND — The 28th World University Cross-Country Championship kicked off the eve before the Saturday competitions on the University of St. Gallen campus.



Karl Güntzel, member of the Board of Governors of the University of St. Gallen and former member of the Council of the International and European Handball Federation, officially opened the event in which he especially praised both FISU and the university for the chance to organise the event—which is the 11th World University Championship event hosted in Switzerland.


The competitors looked both poised and excited, for both the race to come and from the opening ceremony festivities 

After the march pass of the 20 participating countries that represented all the five continents to the playing of the national anthem of Switzerland, the chairman of the organizing committee, Daniel Studer, took the floor. He compared the travel distances from countries located far away from Europe with the short distances of the neighbour countries of Switzerland.



He also looked back on the journey that the organisers themselves took to be here the day before race day. “Our trip started three years ago with the awarding of the FISU World University Cross Country Championship to St.Gallen,” Mr. Studer remarked.

Inspirational speeches and inspiring performances headlined the opening ceremony  

“Thereafter we sat down with the FISU TD Carlos Cardoso and Swiss Athletics and thought about where we could prepare an exciting track for you on the terrain, “Mr. Studer added. “I'm sure we've found an interesting and challenging track. All this we did for your 30 minutes competition time—no effort was too much for us to let you run the race of your life. We, as the local organizing committee consists of 12 people, with about 70 volunteer and various partners, who also support us.”


Mr. Studer concluded his opening speech by wishing all participants a great race and a great experience in Switzerland: “Everything is prepared, enjoy every moment.”

 Key players behind the scenes that ensure a world-class cross-country event for the 21st World University Cross-Country Championship

Mrs Kairis Ulp, Member of the FISU Executive Committee and CISCA Chairwoman, thanked the Swiss University Sports, the University of St. Gallen and its sports department for hosting this important event. “The city of St. Gallen is an excellent place for the WUC; not only because of the UNESCO World Heritage sightseeing or a leading worldwide business University, but the special spirit of friendship, excellence and healthy lifestyle, created by the Swiss University Sports that has found its home in this lovely city and fantastic University of St. Gallen in 1992, 26 years ago.”

 FISU Executive Committee Member Kairis Ulp gave a rousing speech to the competitors at the opening ceremony

Mrs. Ulp also directed her address to the student-athletes. “The Student years are considered to be the happiest time of life. Being young, healthy and educated, the gates to the world are wide open to you now as you begin of the realisation of your dreams.


Event headliners included University Sport luminaries such as Karl Güntzel (former member of International and European Handball Federation), Daniel Studer (OC Chairman), Kairis Ulp (FISU EC Member) and Leonz Eder (FISU First Vice President)“Sport can help you to make dreams come true, because sport is the desire for excellence.” Mrs. Ulp added.  “Sport teaches to make efforts and to accomplish and to play by the rules.”


The creative ceremony was accompanied by a dynamic Break dance show by the Group LaFam.

 The mix of break dancing with traditional Swiss music made for a surprisingly complementary cultural performance during the opening ceremony

The festivities also included the more traditional music of the region performed by Nicolas Senn. A St. Gallen University alumni  and  well known television personality and musician, Mr. Senn performed several pieces on the dulcimer, a typical instrument of this region in Switzerland.


He was supported by singer Esther Brönnimann, who performed not only the National Anthem of Switzerland and the FISU Anthem, but also some traditional yodeling.


The two traditional musicians were so popular among the participants, that they not only applauded them very much, but wanted to take many photos with them after the official closing of the ceremony.

 FISU First-Vice President Leonz Eder was instrumental to bringing WUC Cross-Country onto the University of St.Gallen campus where he works

Leonz Eder, Managing Director of Swiss University Sport, moderated the Opening Ceremony, and finished his time behind the microphone by wishing the best of luck to all the competitors who will take on the very demanding 10 kilometre running course.


Contributing source: Swiss University Sport