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15 November 2019 | in Meetings, FISU

FISU honours university sports luminaries as membership ranks grow during 36th General Assembly



  • Timor Leste becomes 174th FISU member association

  • Federation’s new visual identity approved for 2020 reveal

  • Sportsmanship displayed during Summer Universiade 2019 by an American pole vaulter earns her prestigious International Fair Play Committee award

  • FISU bestows inaugural Primo Nebiolo Award to five individual and one organisation


TORINO – In a founding city of university sport, the International University Sports Federation (FISU) unveiled a new visual identity to its member associations during day one of the 36th FISU General Assembly.  


More of a hint of what’s to come – the official public reveal is set for January 2020 – the FISU President’s presentation still captured attendee attention.


“History and tradition are the bedrocks to the university sports story. This revitalized design hearkens back on while also capturing the more modern and digital life today on campus,” FISU President Matytsin said during the branding reveal.


“The new visual identity captures our illustrious past while also attracting a new generation of university attendees to student-sports.”


In a unanimous decision, the international university sports movement also welcomed admission to new member federation, Timor Leste, from Asia. 


A list of sporting luminaries helped open the event, including video messages from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Witold Bańka.


“Having competing at the Universiade during my student days, today I can admit without great sporting success,” said President Bach, a two-time Summer Universiade fencing competitor.


“On the other hand, it gave me the opportunity to experience even better the wonderful spirit of freedom and openness of this unique event,” Bach said. “It is therefor a personal privilege today to congratulate FISU on 70 years of promoting university sport among students around the world. Thank you for your role in promoting sport around the world.”



FISU President Matytsin also read a letter from Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin wrote to the assembly.


“Major changes happened in Krasnoyarsk,” the Russian President wrote. “We constructed and reconstructed many modern and high-standard venues of sports and social infrastructure. We developed the look and quality of the city public spaces. We raised a big team of professionals.


“Luckily, the end of Winter Universiade is not the end of our team,” Putin added. “We will use the experience, knowledge and legacy of Winter Universiade to go on organising major sports events in Krasnoyarsk.”


Day one of the two-day assembly also saw the official discharge of the FISU Executive Committee after serving their four-year term. The 174 FISU member associations will elect a new executive committee on the second day of the assembly, with 44 candidates vying for 23 executive member positions.


Representative from ten National University Sports Federation (NUSF) submitted candidatures for the three vice president positions, including incumbents Luciano Cabral (BRA), Marian Dymalski (POL), and Leopold Senghor (SEN). 


The four positions of FISU President, First Vice-President, Treasurer, and Senior Executive Committee Member are uncontested. The posts will continue to be served until the 2023 General Assembly by Oleg Matytsin (RUS), Leonz Eder (SUI), Bayasgalan Danzandorj (MGL), and Verena Burk (GER), respectively. Their election will be held by acclamation. All four were elected during the 2015 General Assembly held in Lausanne, Switzerland.


During the last biennial General Assembly held in Taipei City in 2017, FISU leadership proposed and passed a five-term limit for executive committee members.


“The new members running for election come from different backgrounds, but they all share a passion and expertise in sport, qualities necessary for connecting youth to physical activity,” FISU Secretary General – CEO Eric Saintrond said. “Tens of thousands of students participate in our events, but there are 180 million more students around the world. Many of these students practice sports, and our structure, events, and initiatives should support them as well.”


With FISU back in the birthplace of the Uniersiade and its influential late president Primo Nebiolo, FISU presented five individuals and one organisation with a medal in his honour. A charismatic sports leader who would preside over the FISU for four decades, Nebiolo helped thaw east and west relations with the games he christened the Universiade. 


The FISU Executive Committee bestowed Giovanna Nebiolo, spouse of former FISU President Primo Nebiolo (1961-1999), Konstantin Anastassov (FISU Emeritus Honorary Member), Fritz Holzer (FISU Emeritus Honorary Member), Roch Campana (FISU Honorary Secretary General), Julio Maglione (FINA President, medalist during first Summer Universiade), Claude-Louis Gallien (former FISU President, Emeritus Honorary Member), and one university (Centro Universitario Sportivo Torino) with the award. 


Day one came to a fitting end with American pole vaulter Bridget Guy winning the FISU Fair Play Award for her act of generosity and friendship during the Napoli 2019 Summer Universiade. The International Fair Play Committee recognised the recent University of Virginia graduate for lending her competition equipment to a Brazilian competitor whose vaulting poles were stuck at an airport in Portugal.


“In pole vaulting, there’s a unique comradery,” Guy explained. “Although we are competing against each other, we’re really competing against the bar. I believe helping someone in need is one of the greatest rewards in our sport and in life. It is very generous of the International Fair Play Committee to choose me as a recipient because I am confident Juliana would have done the same for me.”