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19 September 2020 | in FISU, International Day Of University Sport

Want students to feel the unity of our family: FISU President Oleg Matytsin ahead of the International Day of University Sport

FISU President OlegMatytsinThe International Day of University Sport (IDUS) will be celebrated for a fifth year running on Sunday, 20 September, bringing the global university sport community together in more ways than one.


Despite the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and its member federations, both national and continental, have planned several online and offline activities that ensure the spirit of sport and friendship is celebrated.


“We really wanted to demonstrate that all students around the world feel happy and united by this idea,” said FISU President Oleg Matytsin. “We want all students to feel that sport is an important part of their life. When we come together and celebrate this day, we can feel the unity of our family – the family of students, the family of sport.”


In his annual IDUS message, the former table tennis champion also said that his “university days were among the best in his life”. In his video message Matytsin exhibited his sporting ability - that stays sharp to this day - and demonstrated that he doesn’t just talk sport but in fact, practices what he preaches. The FISU President’s 2020 IDUS message can be viewed here.




An annual tradition since 2016, the International Day of University Sport is proclaimed by the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO), as an event that helps create links between universities and their local communities with sport, physical activity and healthy lifestyles.


NCAA StatementOver in the United States, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) President Dr. Mark Emmert stated the importance of university sport, especially during these difficult times.


“The International Day of University Sport holds special meaning for the NCAA,” he said. “America is home to some of the world’s best college athletic programs where American and international students compete and learn together."


"Our member schools across the country understand the unique benefits that higher-education provides not only to student-athletes who participate, but also to the communities that embrace their local college athletics programme.”


Square QuoteEchoing those sentiments, President of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) Dr. Raffaele Chiulli lauded the concept of the day.


“For the past five years, the International Day of University Sport has become a key component of the efforts to ensure students around the world learn from the values of sport, by making it a part of their daily lives,” he said.


“When sport and physical activity are emphasised on one day, together, we take a vital step towards emphasising them every day. And knowing the many directions in which young people are pulled today, we at GAISF very much welcome this move to ensure a consistent, repeated and effective focus on sport.”


Keeping these values in mind, FISU and its member federations have planned activities ranging from FISU’s own IDUS Dance Challenge on Instagram to FISU America’s points-based ‘Most Active Federation’ contest, from the ‘adh-Hochschullauf digital’ running competition held by adh (German University Sports Federation) to student workshops in Chinese Taipei.


In the People's Republic of China, IDUS celebration are already in full swing, with activities spanning a week. The Federation of University Sports of China (FUSC) launched the ‘Run Challenge’ to build up confidence to conquer pandemic and encourage more university students to come offline to do more sports.


The objective of the ‘Run Challenge’ is for university teams with a maximum of 500 students each, to run a total long distance of 2020 kilometers. Smaller teams of two to four students can also run a short distance of 20.20 kilometres, with all results recorded on a designated Joyrun App.


“We believe this challenge will not only ease students’ anxiety and stress but set a good example nationwide for students to participate more in physical activities,” said Dr Yanqing Xue, FUSC Vice President. “It will encourage them to pursue excellence in both, mind and body.”


FISU Student Ambassador Akhila NilaweeraFISU Student Ambassador Akhila NilaweeraThe Sri Lanka Universities Sports Association (SLUSA) meanwhile organised the first ever Inter-University Sports Quiz on 15 September, with the participation of university students from all over the country.


The idea of holding a sport quiz was proposed by 2020 FISU Student Ambassador Akhila Nilaweera, who also entered a terrific routine in the IDUS Dance Challenge that brought him all the way to the quarterfinals. His entry can be viewed here.


This day of celebration presents an opportunity to unite the University Sports Movement worldwide, and to improve awareness of the importance of sport in educational institutions, and in students’ daily lives.


All eyes now on Sunday, 20 September, to see how IDUS is celebrated around the globe. Stay tuned to the FISU website and social media channels to get all the latest updates, photos and videos.

FISU byline tina