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11 August 2020 | in NUSF News, FISU Student Ambassadors

A historic organisation fueled by bright student minds: introducing the Swedish University Sports Federation

Sweden 5 TeamSwedish student-athletes enjoying a moment during the Napoli 2019 Summer Universiade

The Swedish University Sports Federation sits on hallowed grounds; the organisation resides inside the Stockholm Olympic Stadium created for the Games of the V Olympiad that took place one year before the organisation’s forming in 1913.

 

Sweden crowdIt’s a point of pride for Sture Espwall, the current Swedish University Sports Federation president who went on to explain how the student entity came to be formed by representatives from four universities: Lund, Gothenburg, Stockholm and Uppsala. In 1964 the federation became a member of the Swedish Sports Confederation, the umbrella organisation of the entire Swedish sports movement. Today the organisation has 104 member associations and over 60,000 active members.

 

In 1961, the Swedish University Sports Federation joined the international sports community by becoming a FISU Member Association. It didn’t take long for the federation to make its mark as they put on the first FISU World University Championship event with Lund, Sweden hosting the handball event in 1963.

 

This active involvement continues today, as Sweden had student-athletes competing at last summer’s Summer Universiade in Napoli in sports like athletics, tennis and swimming. Not only did they enter the competitive arena, but they also made their presence known as some representatives won medals in different categories.

 

Looking back again at 2019, the organisation hosted the highly successful EUC Rowing Championship in Jönköping, a highlight of the events organised by SAIF.

 

̋It was a big well-planned event where everything worked well. Student sports at its best! ̋ said Espwall proudly to Romana Rogic, FISU Student ambassador who was also a volunteer at this event. The 11th event edition drew 504 participants from 81 universities and 21 countries.

Sweden 4 KRSK medalsTeam Sweden shows off a collection of medals accumulated during the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade

When it comes to long term goals, Espwall reports that in recent years SAIF has worked with five-year plans.

 

“The work on Strategy 2026 is currently underway,” noted Espwall. “We are there in a broad anchoring work, and our new strategy will be decided at our GA in October 2020.“

 

 

When it comes to short-term goals, SAIF organises many sports events on the national level each year. One of them is Studentiaden, the most prominent Swedish student sports event that was supposed to be hosted by Jönköping University at the beginning of May. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 situation, this event was cancelled.

Sweden 2The Swedish sports scene is renowned for emphasising all types of sports and activities, and making participation as easy as possible for all

Regarding the common goal image, Espwall emphasises that SAIF stands for that student sports should be easy to start, easy to be engaged, and easy to pass on to others. The goal is to make all of the sports accessible for everyone, regardless of their level. When it comes to gender equality, Espwall highlighted the fact that the basis of their work on gender equality is in SAIF’s statutes. This organisational ethos has been prioritised and practised in all of the operations and projects for over 30 years.

 

 

As a historic organisation filled with young student’s mind, which can be interpreted in a way that Swedish student sports have both the tradition of years of promoting opportunities for student-athletes, they are developing and walking towards the future together with their young members.

 

 

By Romana Rogic, FISU Student Ambassador for Sweden